Towards an Integrated Flood Preparedness and Response: Centralized Data Access, Analysis, and Visualization

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Ibrahim Demir, University of Iowa, IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering, Iowa City, IA, United States and Witold F Krajewski, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, United States
Recent advances in internet and cyberinfrastucture technologies have provided the capability to understand the hydrological and meteorological systems at space and time scales that are critical for making accurate understanding and prediction of flooding, and emergency preparedness. A novel example of a cyberinfrastructure platform for flood preparedness and response is the Iowa Flood Center’s Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS). IFIS is a one-stop web-platform to access community-based flood conditions, forecasts, visualizations, inundation maps and flood-related data, information, and applications. An enormous volume of real-time observational data from a variety of sensors and remote sensing resources (radars, rain gauges, stream sensors, etc.) and complex flood inundation models are staged on a user-friendly maps environment that is accessible to the general public. IFIS has developed into a very successful tool used by agencies, decision-makers, and the general public throughout Iowa to better understand their local watershed and their personal and community flood risk, and to monitor local stream and river levels. IFIS helps communities make better-informed decisions on the occurrence of floods, and alerts communities in advance to help minimize flood damages. IFIS is widely used by general public in Iowa and the Midwest region with over 120,000 unique users, and became main source of information for many newspapers and TV stations in Iowa. IFIS has features for general public to improve emergency preparedness, and for decision makers to support emergency response and recovery efforts. IFIS is also a great platform for educators and local authorities to educate students and public on flooding with games, easy to use interactive environment, and data rich system.