Citizen Science to Prevent the Effects of Floods

Researchers from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) are involved in the development of a mobile phone application that allows user to share information about floods and their effects aiming to help researchers.

Now, citizens can participate in science projects to help improve our society thanks to new technologies. Based on this idea, researchers have developed Flood-up, a project that aims to foster awareness of flooding, and at the same time, to provide citizens with tools to help researchers in the prevention of these atmospheric phenomena.

Researchers from Hydroinformatics and Water Management Group at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Ebro Observatory (URL-CSIC) and coordinated by Universidad de Barcelona (UB) are involved in this projects and have just launched the Flood-up application that can be freely downloaded on mobile devices.

The new tool allows users to locate and share images of diverse aspects related to floods and heavy rain. According to Carme Llasat, coordinator of the project and director of the Group of Analysis of Adverse Meteorological Situations (GAMA) at UB: “when an atmospheric phenomenon occurs, we do not have all the information and we cannot fully map their effects.  If we can have data from all the affected areas with this application, we will be able to better assess the phenomena and their impacts. Likewise, pictures of past floods and their effects will allow us to rebuild these episodes”.

The images shared by users in both the application and on the website can be seen classified in a map by colour and content: flood, rain, hail, lightning, landslides… Besides, other images of vulnerable areas in case of flooding can be shared, such as a construction in the middle of a stream or a sewer in poor condition. This information can be even used to increase safety of people since it can help to report malpractices.

Likewise, this application includes an educational section with explanations about floods, causes and their effect. In addition, users can find information about prevention and actions to perform in case of an atmospheric phenomenon.

The project is supported by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT), a public foundation dependent on the Spanish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Competitiveness.

Download the App

Flood-up in Google Play

Flood-up in App Store

flood up