StormSense Uses GIS and Cloud Services for Flood Prediction

StormSense Uses GIS and Cloud Services for Flood Prediction

by Sarah Pereau | 11 May 2018

Valarm, Esri, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) partner with StormSense, a “flood prediction project” that aims to enhance preparation and response to the impact of coastal flooding.

StormSense, currently active in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, is led by Dr. Jon Loftis, an assistant research scientist at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS).

It uses various types of water level sensors to measure and monitor changes in water levels to forecast flooding resulting from rain, tides, and storm surges. The project combines data recorded by Internet of Things (IoT) water-level sensors from Valarm, Esri ArcGIS mapping, and Amazon’s Alexa.

StormSense utilizes sensors from Valarm, a leader in industrial IoT sensor systems, to record water-level data that is stored in a cloud on AWS. Valarm provides the software and tools necessary to remotely monitor the sensors. That data is combined with data from water-level sensors installed by federal agencies, including USGS and NOAA. According to an article written by Network World, the Valarm sensors are mounted to bridges to monitor water levels in “rivers, estuaries, and non-tidal areas across the Hampton Roads” region. StormSense uses Esri ArcGIS Online, an online geographic information system (GIS), to then map the data in real-time.

Cities within the Hampton Roads region of VA are currently partnered with StormSense for “access to the sensors’ data transmission for the prediction warning system.” The popular smart-home device, Amazon Alexa, now offers a Storm Sense “skill” that can be installed on the device. Storm Sense offers Alexa users information regarding water levels and flood warnings. The information is pulled from the “streaming data and sensor networks stored in AWS.”

The StormSense project has won numerous awards in 2017-2018 for its innovation in smart cities, and the benefits to partner cities including the potential to save millions in damages for the residents of the Hampton Roads region.

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Brittany Leonard
brittanyleonard@geo-tel.com