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Civils professor launches flood alert app

An American civil engineering professor has devised an app which encourages the public to report flash floods.


UTA Research to Improve Flash Flood Warnings

The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) associate professor of civil engineering DJ Seo has named the android app iSeeFlood and an iPhone version is under construction. He has also developed a wireless sensor that can report information on flash floods and 10 of these have been installed as part of the research into improving technology that picks up on floods.

In the US the app will work with the regional Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (Casa) radar system that aims to deliver fast and accurate information about severe weather and flash flooding.

“We will integrate the information that people send us using the app and the data from the sensors and the Casa system with flash flood forecasting models,” said Seo. “This type of research in real-time sensing and prediction is important particularly because this area is growing fast. Urbanisation means we have changing land surface conditions such as increasing impervious land cover, which change how rain may be running off and accumulating.”

The iSeeFlood app and the wireless sensors are part of the Integrative Sensing and Prediction of Urban Water for Sustainable Cities project run jointly by the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Michigan and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

UTA civil engineering department chairman Ali Abolmaali added: “This is data-driven research with a direct impact on saving lives. The app makes it very easy to report flooding conditions, and we are using sensors to gather additional information in real time. That information is useful not only during floods but in providing guidance on managing water-related hazards in future development.”

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