MIT initiative on flood reporting

As heavy rain continues in Chennai, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Urban Risk Lab has launched a crowd-sourced flood reporting platform,, for residents to share critical information with each other in real-time.

“People affected by flooding and water-logging can add information to the web-based map using their preferred social media channels. By visiting the website, users can submit reports through Facebook Messenger, Twitter or Telegram,” according to a statement.

According to Urban Risk Lab, an automated chatbot sends users a one-time link to add the location, flood depth, photo and description. “Residents as well as government officials can view the map to see recent flood reports and understand changing flood conditions to avoid dangerous areas. For life-threatening situations, residents should continue to call emergency numbers,” it added.

The RiskMap India project is supported by the TATA Center of Technology and Design – set up by the TATA Trusts at MIT and is being piloted in Chennai in partnership with the Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group.

The platform is being piloted to help both residents and the government obtain better information on real-time flooding conditions, according to MIT.

RiskMap is powered by an open source software known as CogniCity — a geosocial intelligence framework that allows data to be collected and disseminated through mobile devices using social media networks. Developed by Dr. Tomas Holderness, Research Scientist at the Urban Risk Lab, CogniCity software is also currently being used to map flooding in Indonesia and the U.S.

The Urban Risk Lab at MIT focusses on developing methods, prototypes and technologies to embed risk reduction and preparedness into the design of cities and regions to increase the resilience of local communities.

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 8:02:59 AM |

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