Google Forecasting inundation for the Brahmaputra on trial basis
GUWAHATI: Google is coming with a glimmer of hope for people living in flood-prone areas and disaster managers as well in Assam. In line with Google traffic conditions and driving direction and maps, from next year one can just Google and get the flood situation 24×7 in the State. Even a layman will be able to Google in his mobile handset and see the flood situation.
At present Google, in collaboration with the Central Water Commission (CWC), has been forecasting flood inundation for the Brahmaputra River only on a trial basis. Apart from Google traffic conditions and driving direction and map, Google and CWC have been engaged in three-day advisory flood forecast all over India, including Assam.
For making forecast of flood situation in the State possible 24×7, a three-member Google team has already visited Assam and is set to come back to the State this month. Talking to this reporter, CWC’s Superintending Engineer in Guwahati Ravi Ranjan said: “We’ve already signed an agreement with Google to share technical expertise and artificial intelligence, machine learning, geospatial mapping and analysis of hydrological observation data to collaborate (i) improving flood prediction systems helping location-targeted actionable flood warning, (ii) high-priority research project utilizing Google Earth Engine to help visualize and improve flood management and (iii) a cultural project to build online exhibitions on the rivers of India.”
Ranjan further said: “Under the collaborative agreement, Google would use high-resolution digital elevation model and vast computational resources and its expertise in the field of artificial intelligence to generate flood inundation maps utilizing the level forecast input provided by CWC. The information in the form of likely extent and depth of inundation would be disseminated with a lead time up to three days. In this monsoon, the three-day flood inundation forecast is going on a trial basis. Apart from this, the situation of flood inundation of the Brahmaputra River is going on – both flood inundation with embankment and flood inundation without embankment. In line with Google traffic conditions and driving direction and maps, Google is also going to flood mapping that is likely to be used from 2019.”
This map has been prepared using the latest modeling technique and validated with available satellite imageries to the best possible extent. However, its preparation required many assumptions and actual conditions during a flood event may vary from the assumed conditions. The limits of flooding shown should only be used as a guideline for emergency planning and response action for state and local agencies. Actual area inundated will depend on specific flooding conditions and may differ from the areas shown on the map.