As the second most populated nation, India witnessed more than 20% of global flood-related fatalities every year, and the overrun riverbanks sweep thousands of homes with it. Now, two years ago, Google volunteered to help in such a crisis.
In 2018 Google began its pilot initiative with flood predictions in Bihar. Bihar records more than 100 deaths in a year and has been the most vulnerable city when it comes to floods. The initiative from Google provided the people of this region with accurate real-time flood forecasts.
Google AI model analyzes historical flood data gleaned from river basins worldwide to forecast accurate data of every river basin.
Google, along with the Central Water Commission of India, the Israeli Research Center, and the Bar-Ilan University, worked on this project. The AI model will boost the process of gathering water level data with other Indian authorities. New electronic sensors have been mounted, which will transfer data automatically to the water authorities.
After two years, thrilled with initial outcomes, Google now announces that the Flood Forecasting Initiative is now covering all of India.
The company also reported that they have cooperated with the Bangladesh Water Development Board, which experiences more floods than any other nation in the world. With this, Google takes the Flood Forecasting Project beyond India for the first time.
Part of the job is to provide people with potentially life-changing knowledge, which might transform their lives. The organization has stated that more than 30 million alerts have been issued until now in areas impacted by India’s flood.
It claims that its plan will help secure over 200 million residents over 250,000 Square kilometres. Google’s platform in Bangladesh will reach over 40 million people, and the company is working to broaden this across the world.
The company also stated that it worked with Yale and found that there was room for more improvement.
This year, Google has updated the look and feel to make it more accessible to the users. For example, it now supports languages like Hindi, Bengali, and seven other regional languages, and the notifications in the warnings are customized for better user experience. It has also developed a new prediction model that doubles the alert time for many of its warnings.
The company also said its charitable arm Google.org has started to work with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to build local networks and alert people who would otherwise not be receiving Smartphone alerts directly.
According to Matias, many works need to be done to improve the services and extend them to serve in more flood-affected areas. Together with other entities, they strive to create, sustain, and enhance technology and innovative solutions to help protect cities and save lives.