IIT Madras calls for data on street-level inundation from people

Published - November 10, 2021 02:55 am IST - CHENNAI

A professor of civil engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras has invited people to provide details of flooding in the city, including the suburbs.

The data would then be shared with the Chennai Corporation, said Balaji Narasimhan, civil engineering professor. At a future date, it would enable government agencies to improve the design of roads, storm water drains, forecast, and facilities and improve their maintenance.

“It is more of collecting information about places getting water-logged and has nothing to do with flood alert. We are working with Chennai Corporation and the State disaster mitigation agency to put together in place a real-time system. We are trying to collect as much data as possible,” he explained.

The data would also help the researchers provide “recommendation to the Chennai Corpoation and the State government on what measures and infrastructure improvement that they could probably make,” Mr. Balaji said.

On his request, the Massachussets Institute of Technology had revived an urban risk map it had created in 2016-17 for its research purposes. But the map had since been taken down for lack of funding.

How it works

To provide details of flooding, a person should visit https://in.riskmap.org and click on it to submit report. It will, in turn, activate the user’s Twitter account and will ask the user to report flooding. Clicking on ‘report’ will activate the map. A toggle and a slider is provided to explain the level of flooding. Users can also upload a photograph along with a comment regarding the flooding.

“We want public participation in large numbers. They can provide details from the place of work, residence or school - wherever they see flooding. If they can log the data, it will act as an archive that will basically be used for improving the systems,” Mr. Balaji noted.

He is also working on a simpler version for people who do not have a Twitter account. Mr. Balaji said the version would be available in a couple of days.


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