Google expands flood warning feature to all of India

Checking how flood warnings match conditions on the ground. A photo from Google's field survey in Bihar during monsoon 2019.   | Photo Credit: Google

Google launched its flood warning service in Patna in 2018. Now, it is expanding the service to whole of India, and parts of Bangladesh.

The California-based company said 200 million people in India and 40 million people in Bangladesh can now receive alerts from its flood forecasting system. The feature uses machine learning to identify areas prone to flooding and alerts people before the waters arrive.

In June, it covered all the worst flood-hit areas of India, sending out around 30 million notifications to people in flood-affected areas.

“Our systems now extend to the whole of India, with Google technology being used to improve the targeting of every alert the government sends,” Google said.

A Google study, in collaboration with Yale University, in the Ganges-Brahmaputra river basin, found that among households that received a flood alert, about 70% got it before flood waters reached the village. 65% of people who received flood warnings before the flooding began took action to protect themselves or their assets.

The company has launched a new forecasting model that will double the lead time of alerts, providing more notice to governments and giving tens of millions of people an extra day or so to prepare.

“Even in an area suffering from low literacy, limited education, and high poverty, a majority of citizens act on information they receive. So, early warnings are definitely worth the effort,” Researchers said.

In addition, Google is providing people with information about flood depth, and the feature supports Hindi, Bengali and seven other local languages.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2020 4:33:33 AM |

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