sensing floods

A “grid” of smart river sensors will be installed in the Ribble River (Yorshire, UK). The sensors will monitor water pressure/depth and flow and will be used to predict impending flooding.

The article likens the network of sensors to grid computing:

Each node is smaller than a human fist and powered by batteries and solar panels. Each is also accompanied by a computer unit about the size of a packet of chewing gum, which contains a processor about as powerful those found in a modern cellphone.

The sensors are positioned within tens of metres of each other and communicate through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antennas. This enables them to collaborate for data collection and processing tasks, creating a larger community computer. The same “grid computing” approach is used to connect computers at different locations for distributed research projects.

If the river’s behaviour starts to change, the network uses the data collected to run models and predict what will happen next. If a flood seems likely – because it is rapidly rising and moving quickly – the network can send a wireless warning containing the details.

(Hmm but do the people in Yorskshire know that one of their rivers is broadcasting to a lab in Lancashire? The War of the Roses wasn’t that long ago… 😉 )

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