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Google teams up with India to help forecast floods

Google will use its expertise in digital mapping to help the Indian government manage flood situation in the country.

India’s Central Water Commission has a deal with the Silicon Valley company to find better ways to provide timely warnings to those at risk of being caught in flooding, which kills hundreds during the country’s monsoon season.

Joining forced with Google will help India save money that would otherwise be required to develop its own digital mapping system. India government’s joint venture with Google would look at “improving flood prediction systems, which will help provide location-targeted, actionable flood warnings,” a government statement said.

It would also deliver a “high priority research project utilizing Google Earth Engine to help visualize and improve flood management.”

Making use of Google’s knowledge of 3D mapping of the earth’s surface, Indian officials say they can deliver forecasts three days in advance. Google will also be used to predict the extent and depth of any flooding and alerts can be shared on Google platforms with those in the danger zone.

According to a The Quint report, nearly 14 percent of India’s landmass is vulnerable to flooding, with more than 15 percent of this area getting flooded every year.

Between 1996 and 2015, India was in the fifth place in the highest number of deaths caused by natural disasters, and more than a third of these deaths were caused by flooding.