Google Partners with Water Ministry to Predict Floods in India

Google is partnering with government agencies in order to do its bit at times of natural calamities is nothing new. The tech giant has partnered with USA's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for incorporating alerts about natural disasters. It also launched the SOS Alerts feature on its search and Google Maps.

in India, Google has partnered with the Central Water Commission in order to alert people on flood warnings. The first alert for the initiative was sent out last month in Bihar's Patna after heavy rains in the region.

According to Google, the SOS Alerts has been activated in more than 200 crisis situations, in addition to tens of thousands of Google Public Alerts, which have been viewed more than 1.5 billion times.

Also Read: 6 Useful Apps That Can Help In Times Of Disaster

In a blog post, the company said that it will make predictions of Natural Disasters using a combination of machine learning, rainfall records and flood simulations.

The feature will send an alert on your device when it detects a situation in your region. Clicking on the alert will give out more details like the expected duration, severety levels and will mark the 'approximate affected area' on the map (as seen in the image below).

How Google’s interface looks on your device.

"The Central Water Commission (CWC), India’s apex technical organization in the field of Water Resources, has entered into a Collaboration Agreement with Google. CWC would use state-of-the-art advances made by Google in the in the field of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and geospatial mapping for effective management of water resources particularly in the field of flood forecasting and dissemination of flood related information to the masses widely using the dissemination platforms developed by Google." - Ministry of Water Resources

These images depict a flood simulation of a river in Hyderabad, India. The left side uses publicly available data while the right side uses Google data and technology. 

With this information, Google has created river flood forecasting models that can more accurately predict not only when and where a flood might occur, but the severity of the event as well.

Google's engineering VP said in the blog post, that the company will make use of a variety of elements — from historical events, to river level readings, to the terrain and elevation of a specific area — to feed into its models.

Going forward, use of intelligence to detect such events can lessen the impact of floods, something that had a disastrous effect in regions like Kerala and part of North East India recently.

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