In 2018 Google has launched an initiative to help combat damage caused by floods, with the aim of accurately and in detail alerting those who may be in danger. Based on the Machine Learning, this work led to a alert system which allows people to receive useful information to understand the real gravity of the situation.
More accessible flood forecasts with Machine Learning and Google Maps
Often the forecasts only warn about how much the river could rise, without providing further details on the possible damage and without giving a perfect idea of what it could mean for the inhabitants. The system designed by Google, which is part of the wider Crisis Response program, makes available flood maps, which show the extent and depth of the latter starting from Google Maps.
In the first three years, the program spanned much of India and Bangladesh, covering an area of approximately 220 million people and generating 40 million potentially life-saving alarms. In 2021 it expanded to an area with over 360 million people, tripling the number of alerts thanks to improved flood forecasting technology.
The new multiple flood model and advances in uncertainty management across all models enable more information to be provided to more people. To bring all of this to a more local level, Big G has launched Google Flood Hub, with which localized directions can be provided for more specific places (such as a single village for example).
Google has partnered with some major ones humanitarian organizations, such as the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), the Bangladeshi Red Crescent Society (BDRCS), Yuganter and more, to help spread the warnings even to those who do not have access to a smartphone or an Internet connection.
Google worked with local teams to train the population and volunteers, explaining how to read the notices and maps. Local teams have even set up 24-hour monitoring centers. The flood prediction system is now active throughout India and the Bangladesh, but Google has no plans to stop and is already working for expand life-saving alarms to countries in South Asia and South America.
In short, this is a very useful project that could save many people in the event of floods, one of the most common natural disasters in recent decades.
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