> Background

Building a citizen-led flood detection network using the Internet of Things. 

A Complex Problem

Oxford is prone to flooding. Although the Environment Agency provide blanket warnings they have limited resources and a small number of expensive, professional sensor. To help understand flooding at a street level we need data on the streams, groundwater and complex basin of the Thames & Cherwell. What we need is higher resolution data. 

The Oxford Flood Network project aims to show how to monitor water levels in your own community using the Internet of Things and wireless sensors. 

The Smart City Built by Citizens

In the floodplain of Oxford members of the local community are installing their own water-level monitoring sensors. Inspired by the crowdsourced Japan Radiation Map[ ] they are sharing local knowledge about rivers, streams and groundwater to build a better, hyper-local picture of the situation on the ground.

Some properties have boreholes which can be used to determine groundwater levels. Some have water sloshing about under their living room in their floor void. And those who live by swollen streams have intimate knowledge of the conditions that lead to floods. These are all great indicators of imminent flooding but are often passed around by word of mouth in a local community. 

This working demonstrator and reference design forms the basis of a blueprint for communities to build their own sensor networks to highlight their own issues – air quality, radiation, noise, whatever they can find a sensor for. 

Making a citizen-built flood detection network in Oxford, based on river levels, groundwater and local knowledge.

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