The ResilienceDirect platform provides a single place for emergency responders to plan for and brief against all types of resilience events across the UK. Free at the point of use and available to all UK category 1 and 2 responders, it includes many enhancements over the previous mapping tool, which it replaces, and is scalable to encompass future scenarios.
The surface water flood nowcasting capability, FloodMap Live, is currently available on the ResilienceDirect platform across London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Leicester. Developed from over 20 years research at Loughborough University, it allows emergency responders to understand which access routes may be affected by surface water during high rainfall events, saving vital response time. It uses ‘hyperlocal’ IBM rainfall forecast and nowcast datasets to continuously model flooding and provide actionable flood alerts, showing depths and times of forecasted events up to two days in advance, updated every three hours.
Luana Avagliano, Head of ResilienceDirect, said: “This is ground-breaking work that will immensely assist our resilience community in making informed decisions for planning and response to flood events and impact." She added: “It is imperative that in this ever-changing and challenging world, we stay up-to-date and embrace emerging technologies. This is why, as always, user requirements have driven our ResilienceDirect mapping capability. We will continue to provide the best possible tools for our Resilience Community and support their mission to Save Lives and Keep the UK Safe.”
In 2016, Dapeng Yu, Professor of River Dynamics at Loughborough University, led the collaboration with the Cabinet Office to improve the accuracy of forecasting surface-water flooding – the UK’s greatest and Europe’s fastest-growing cause of floods. Until now, surface-water flood warnings lacked the spatial resolution needed by government and emergency services to prepare and respond to flood events.
In 2019, Loughborough launched a spinout to exclusively licence the FloodMap Live technology. Previsico has been on the fast-track since launch, most recently setting up to go live in the US – the world’s largest insurance market. Previsico is headquartered in the University’s Incubator, on its Science and Enterprise Park LUSEP, where its workforce has leapt from 3 to 11 in 18 months.
Loughborough University Pro-Vice Chancellor for Enterprise Professor Tracy Bhamra said: “Integration into the new ResilienceDirect platform is a key milestone for a partnership that began six years ago, with the local resilience forum in Leicestershire. With the Cabinet Office and our ongoing global research and the commercial partnerships driven through Previsco, we can accelerate the positive impacts of this world-first flood forecasting technology.”