A new flood monitoring system


  • Sarah Zielinski


A system of ‘intelligent’ sensors linked in a grid could provide rapid, low-cost flood forecasts. The system's designers, scientists from the University of Lancaster (U.K.), recently installed the sensors at 13 locations across a Yorkshire (U.K.) flood plain. At each location, researchers placed a depth sensor and digital camera that can measure the speed of flotsam in the water. Computers incorporated into the sensors link them together wirelessly in a grid that allows the system to adapt as flood waters rise or if some sensors cease working or wash away In addition, the sensors can adjust their power management so that, for example, they use less power during dry times. Flood forecasting models are run on the computer grid and adjust their predictions as the information from the sensors changes.