S119 Smartphone technologies as a support to better inform and protect people in case of flash floods ?

Sunday, 22 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Jules Kouadio, University of Avignon, Avignon, France

In France, government and specific services (SCHAPI) survey overflow stream floods (100.000km2) but flash floods characterized by fast, quick and dangerous responses (other 100.000km2) remain delicate to predict and difficult to monitor. Consequently, we propose to use Smartphone technologies: to reduce the time required to alert and to protect population; to enhance information observed by any people at local scales; to built automatic vigilance based on these “citizens-sensors”; to use field experiment to improve knowledge on flash floods actually available after damaged events; to use geo-location of transmitter sources to alert people located at 5 km around.
Challenges are numerous: early warning for better watchfulness; optimal lecture for alert messages; incentive people to contribute and participate; territorial flexibility and identification of risk areas; improve people behavior in case of flash floods. Therefore some problems occur even if challenges are clearly founded: 1) How to manage the personal data without breach of privacy? Actually the government and specifically the stakeholders remains the decision level to inform on flooding risk. 2) What kind of hardware and software architecture deploy to alert population without depending on phone agencies and networks? 3) Whereas the actual system goes in a “top-down” approach (the State alert and the people react) how can we encourage the citizens to engage them in a proactive and collective action without putting in default the existing forecasting services and risk management? We mainly discuss in this paper of the condition of the establishment of a new system using the reactiveness of Smartphones.

We hope 1) to reduce the time required for warnings and protect population; 2) to enhance data collection provided by citizens since local scales;3) to built a collaborative vigilance and a standing guard network based on these “citizenssensors" not depending on the official government systems; 4) to improve knowledge on flash floods damage observed in real-time.

The solution is thought in the way to limit drawbacks between the classical approach (top-down) that imposed the government as a main warning source, and the citizens (bottom-up) we consider as " sensors" during crisis (both in going up or disseminating warning information). Addressing this is of paramount importance if we aim at minimizing material & human damages regarding the high acuity of flash floods.

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