This £50,000 project, which is funded by Research Council UK’s Digital Economy Theme (Sustainable Society Network+), comes in response to the fact that the incidence of flood events in the UK has increased as a consequence of climate change. Flood events cause serious disruption, enormous financial costs and, in some cases, loss of life.

The six month project, which is headed up by Dr Chunbo Luo and Dr James Nightingale of University of the West of Scotland’s School of Computing, comprises five projects partners and two advisory board members spanning the UK.

This multi-agency study runs until 30 April 2015 and has seen the investigation of suitable Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for flooding disaster management; the preliminary development of an experimental UAV platform; and the development of visual and infrared imagery technologies for use on UAVs during flooding.

The development of a flood response system, based on innovative remote sensing, communications networking and cloud computing technologies could have massive benefits not just for society, but also the wider UK economy, by improving the response rate to floods and in turn significantly reducing the devastating impact floods can have.

Employing the use across the UK of UAV technology developed in this project would enable relevant agencies including the Natural Environment Research Council’s Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (NERC CEH), the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), local authorities, utilities companies and emergency responders to gather their own real-time data and imagery and transmit it electronically to a central processing and dissemination platform. A central platform, which is at the preliminary stages of its development as part of this project, would in real time, collate, verify and process incoming data against flood models and infrastructure maps to disseminate a common view of the unfolding situation to all agencies, greatly benefiting both incident managers and responders on the ground.

Dr Luo of UWS said: “This project is hugely important and the proposed system would have substantial societal impact by facilitating a faster, better co-ordinated response to flood events. In the longer term, data collected and processed by this system would lead to improved flood models and help to inform future flood prevention strategies.

“We are looking to build on the outcomes of this study and secure additional funding to further develop the successes to create an integrated flooding management system.”



University of the West of Scotland: ‘UWS led study to aid UK’s flood response