Google has been working on a Flood Forecasting Initiative that collaborates with government efforts to create a system that predicts where floods will occur. The aim is to warn residents ahead and for them to take safety measures.
In a blog post, Google explained that it focuses more on India because it faces more danger from flooding. Additionally, it mentions that it is expanding its forecasting models and services in 2020.
In June 2020, Google says that its flood forecasting systems now covers all of India. In addition, the company is partnering with Bangladesh Water Development Board to bring the warning services to Bangladesh.
“To date, we’ve sent out around 30 million notifications to people in flood-affected areas. We currently cover more than 40 million people in Bangladesh, and we’re working to extend this to the whole country.”
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Google reveals that its services cover more than 250,000 square kilometers, a 20 times increase to its coverage in 2019. Add this to the wildfire notification system that the company improved in August 2020; it is clear that Google is doing a good work in protecting people from natural disasters.
The tech company adds that it has been visiting flood-affected areas and doing research on what the people need in terms of information. “One survey we conducted found that 65 percent of people who receive flood warnings before the flooding begins take action to protect themselves or their assets (such as evacuating or moving their belongings),” it wrote on its blog.
Google even says that part of the improvements to the Flood Forecasting Initiative is giving ‘people an extra day or so to prepare’. They also redesigned the way the alerts look and function, so that that people can read it easily and understand.
“In addition to improving our alerts, Google.org has started a collaboration with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. This partnership aims to build local networks that can get disaster alert information to people who wouldn’t otherwise receive smartphone alerts directly,” Google wrote at the end of the blog post.
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