Building a citizen-led flood detection network using the Internet of Things
The Oxford Flood Network is a citizen-based initiative for water-level monitoring sensors – a “guerilla network” in the spirit of the crowdsourced Japan Radiation Map created by the public around Fukushima in response to a lack of official information.
Ben Ward of the
Oxford Flood Network
Oxford is prone to flooding. Although the Environment Agency provide blanket warnings, they have limited resources. To help understand flooding at a street level more data is needed on the streams, groundwater and complex basin of the Thames & Cherwell – a higher resolution data. The Oxford Flood Network project aims to show how to monitor water levels in local communities using the Internet of Things and wireless sensors. In the floodplain of Oxford members of the local community are installing their own water-level monitoring sensors and sharing local knowledge about rivers, streams and groundwater to build a better, hyper-local picture of the situation on the ground.
“My neighbour’s house has a borehole underneath and he measures the current groundwater level with a dipstick.” says Ben Ward of Love Hz, the organisation co-ordinating the initiative. “Friends a few roads away currently have water sloshing about under their living room in their floor void. These would both be great indicators of imminent flooding and could easily be added to the Internet of Things.”
In the last year, the project has been supported by Nominet UK, the not-for-profit company responsible for managing the .uk domain of the Internet. The partnership allows the Nominet R&D group to work with a true Internet of Things application that has a real impact on people in a Smart City setting. The project aims to ramp up to 100 sensors covering Oxford’s rivers and streams over the next year providing an unparralled level of detail of the waterways of Oxford.