“Integrating GMES Emergency Services with satellite navigation and communication for establishing a flood information service”

The FLOODIS project (2013-2015) has now been concluded – it had the goal of developing a platform that alerts professional users and citizens of an impending disaster and subsequently provides them with regular updates and additional information, such as geographical information (maps layers via mobile mapping application) concerning the disaster. Under this project, the disaster alert and information was focused on flood events, but the system could be extended to other types of disasters.

There are a number of innovative aspects that were achieved in the FLOODIS project, including:

  • The combined application of satellite-derived maps, GNSS (Galileo/EGNOS/EDAS) positioning, and continuous flood model updating with geospatial data to keep users informed of the geographical area at risk and/or affected;
  • Access to a location-based disaster event service based on EGNOS and EDAS augmentation and supplementary information by leveraging the Protection Levels computed from the EGNOS message to reach those users (civil protection agencies or subscribed users) in or near the disaster area;
  • Updates on the latest situational information during a flood to registered users, via the FLOODIS back-end system which can be accessed on smart phones, tablets or mobile devices (utilizing terrestrial wireless communications);
  • The integration of technologies whereby users on the ground (citizens or civil protection officers) can send back information on the actual situation that they witness around themselves, for ingestion and subsequent dissemination to all other users. This means that user will act as a “human sensor” that can provide geo-location information, enhanced through the use of the EGNOS/EDAS services, applying differential corrections and calculating protection levels. Note that this approach follows social philosophy of Web2.0-i.e. having citizens acting as contributors.

The main aim of the FLOODIS project was to develop and implement a mainstream oriented disaster alert and information platform for “flood events”, this was achieved by:

  • Setting up a centralized cloud-based platform providing the back-office system to assimilate, analyze and provide location based, near real-time flood information to web and mobile users;
  • Developing and providing a GNSS- and GSM- enabled application for professional use by in-field disaster management and civil protection staff via handheld devices (i.e.: tablets);
  • Developing and providing a mobile application for GNSS- and GSM- enabled smart phones for a free use by the wider public.

Immagine Architettura Floodis

FLOODIS architecture diagram

FLOODIS GEO gateway:

The FLOODIS GEO Gateway System has been developed by GeoVille and serves as an automated platform for the ingestion and provision of localised flood delineation layers on the mobile and desktop-based web applications of FLOODIS. The flood data sets (actual delineations based on satellite images) are imported in real time from the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, processed in a spatial database and provided to FLOODIS users via a standard web map service. Within this service all map data is stored in small tiles for different zoom levels, so that users can load the information on mobile devices even with a weak Internet connection. In addition flood forecast layers are computed based on a range of geospatial datasets and provided by means of the GEO Gateway to the Web. Furthermore flood nowcasts, which are computed based on flood observations in the field, are disseminated in the same way.

Users in the field can therefore obtain the most current flood layers, nowcasts and forecasts on mobile systems (tablets, smartphones), while authorities like the civil protection can administer all information on standard web-based clients (Desktop PCs).