Google’s Flood Forecasting Initiative now covers all of India, parts of Bangladesh

Google is expanding its Flood Forecasting Initiative in India and has extended the initiative to cover parts of Bangladesh.

The tech giant had launched the initiative in 2018 in Patna. It has been working with the Indian Central Water Commission to extend its AI-powered flood warnings to other parts of India.

“In June, just in time for the monsoon season, we reached an important milestone: our systems now extend to the whole of India, with Google technology being used to improve the targeting of every alert the government sends,” Yossi Matias, VP Engineering & Crisis Response Lead, wrote in a blog post.

It now covers over 20 crore people across more than 250,000 square kms. Google said that it has sent out over three crore notifications to people in flood-affected areas so far.

“In addition to expanding in India, we’ve partnered with the Bangladesh Water Development Board to bring our warnings and services to Bangladesh, which experiences more flooding than any other country in the world. We currently cover more than 40 million people in Bangladesh, and we’re working to extend this to the whole country,”Matias said.

It is also working to double the lead time of its alerts and better its systems. The tech giant now provides information to people about flood depth including when and how much flood waters are likely to rise ahead of time.

“And in areas where we can produce depth maps throughout the floodplain, we’re sharing information about depth in the user’s village or area,” Matias added.

It is also providing information in different visual formats to help people better understand the data. It has also added support for Hindi, Bengali and seven other local languages to the system.

In addition to its alerts, Google.org has also collaborated with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies “to build local networks that can get disaster alert information to people who wouldn’t otherwise receive smartphone alerts directly,” Matias said.



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