Smart Cities Tech Meets Sea Level Rise

In the most imaginative and useful application of crowd-sourcing technology I’ve seen in Virginia, Hampton Roads Cares has helped fund creation of the Wetlands Watch Sea-Level Rise app. Right now, you don’t know where it’s going to flood until you’re in the middle of it, says Skip Stiles, executive director of Wetlands Watch, in this video. “As long as you’re out there, wheel-well deep in water, you might as well be telling the person behind you that it’s wet here.” The ultimate goal: to provide enough data to help scientists and modelers predict where flooding will occur. — JAB

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8 responses to “Smart Cities Tech Meets Sea Level Rise”

  1. this is proving to be a hard sell to skeptics who think that predicting flood levels is a liberal scheme to terrify the gullible!

  2. Have you ever used the smartphone app Waze Jim? Worth a look.

    1. Yeah, it’s pretty cool. We used it to navigate to the N.C. beach and back. It took us one some back roads we’d never used before but saved us some time.

      1. smartphone navigation is fundamentally different than auto dashboard GPS.

        the auto dashboard GPS has the entire map in the unit… but most smartphones don’t have near enough storage for the entire map so they “download” maps of where you are – as they go.

        if you stay in one area – you don’t download as much but if you are driving cross country – it has to keep downloading as you “outrun” the stored map.

        With the dash GPS – you have to update it on your PC which is a cumbersome and somewhat inscrutable process for average folks whereas the Smartphone is pretty much seamless – as long as you have cell phone coverage and don’t mind paying the data charges.

        I’ve tried downloading “offline maps” for Google .. and others.. and what you find out real quick is how limited the storage capacity of the smartphone is.

        do a search for “offline maps” for WAZE.

        some day – someone will make a dashboard unit that has the large map data but downloads map and traffic updates via Smartphone bluetooth.

      2. Waze gets information from other drivers for things like cars stopped on the side of the road, traffic jams, police (where that is allowed), etc. The people entering the information earn points for doing so. In fact, Waze can be used to report local flooding …

        1. Dash GPS system have traffic and incident reporting on them also and do it either with a radio broadcast (the receiver is in the cable) or they can link with a Smartphone via bluetooth… to move data in addition to audio/tunes.

          the thing about crowdsourcing – can it create a GPS system beyond on software app on phones that are not crowdsourced but created by for-profit companies?

          or can crowdsourcing start to create the phones and GPS dashboard units also?

          is there such a thing as opensource for phones or GPS dashboard units?

          in short – is crowdsourcing a way to get products without having to get them from for-profit manufacturing companies – ???

          will we see tires or stoves produced by crowdsourcing?

          1. I don’t think you can get access to the in-dash GPS systems in any straightforward way. Auto manufacturers, for a variety of reasons, tend to keep those units pretty well locked down. Access to smartphones is relatively easy – write a free app and put it on the App Store (for iOS devices) or one of the several Android markets.

            I am not saying it’s easy to write the app or the related analytic processes which would make it useful for tracking something like rising sea levels. However, it is achievable and distribution is pretty straight forward.

          2. in-dash – no way, agree

            on-dash…. yes.. you can connect via blue-tooth

            and agree about the ease of the Smartphone – with some caveats.

            There are 3 different operating systems in the world of Smartphone:

            Apple, Android, and Windows.

            Android is based on open source software – but has lots of variants – generational and proprietary… what is known as “forked”.

            Apple is “curated” which means they provide an interface rather than details of the OS design.. and you write to their standards or else you don’t release the app – and that includes proprietary partnerships they have with other companies which may preclude a user-written competitor… we don’t know other than if you write code they don’t want – you have to change it.

            Windows.. I have no clue… how they work.. and there probably are one or two other more obscure OS out there.

            Androids apps tend to vary wildly on quality and reliability especially when it comes to maps… TOM TOM – a dashboard GPS company also makes a pretty good phone App but it costs money.

            Garmin produces hardware that uses Android software called Navigon – it also costs money.

            this is another big technology area for jobs.. for folks with the right skills – not only programming but understanding things like map navigation, etc.

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