Web platform developed to plan flood prevention in cities

As severe flooding affects countries across Europe, a new web service for flood prevention has been announced, that will help cities identify risk areas and plan protective and preventative measures.

SaferPlaces, an interactive online tool for cities and municipalities, has been developed with the aim of managing the greatest natural hazard we face in terms of economic damage and risk to life.

The web app is available as a prototype, relying on open data and based on new climatic, hydrological and hydraulic, topographical and economic modelling techniques, allowing cities to model damage to residential and commercial buildings from flooding.

The project has been delivered under the leadership of the consultancy GECOSistema, with participation from several universities including the GFZ Potsdam German Research Centre for Geosciences.

body of water and buildings

The project lead at GFZ, Kai Schröter, said: ‘What is special about our system is the platform idea. The effects of measures can be calculated and presented directly on our platform, from the inundation to the loss incurred. Corresponding scenarios can thus be played out and discussed directly by the multi-disciplinary teams in planning meetings, for example.’

The web platform is currently being piloted in Cologne, Rimini and Pamplona, with case studies from across the world being added to enable the platform to apply globally to flood hazard calculations.

SaferPlaces uses the cloud to conduct all calculations about the risks and potential damages of flooding, which makes it accessible for smaller cities and countries as the users do not need any extra software to use the platform.

The web service can be used to plan a range of flooding measures, from modifications to existing buildings like sealed windows and entrances, to new or improved dikes and flood protection shields.

The platform is hoped to be established for commercial use in the future, with SaferPlaces expected to apply for funding from the EIC Accelerate programme, an EU scheme to support projects in reaching market maturity.

In related news, homeowners and developers will save time and money with two new apps that that speed up the processing of applications for extensions and home improvements.

Photo by Artiom Vallat


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