Google announced this Wednesday (2) that the flood forecasting system is available in Brazil. The tool observes the basin of several rivers in the country, monitors the water elevation and allows users to inform the “flood height” in their region. The feature also estimates how much the water level can change in the following hours.
In addition to Brazil, Google announced that the tool was made available in 17 more countries. O Flood Hub, the name of the service, was launched in 2021 for India and Bangladesh. Now also available for South Africa, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Colombia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Sri Lanka .
Google map monitors Brazilian river basins
O Flood Hub has points of interest markings in some Brazilian rivers. Using Santa Catarina as an example, the Canoas River and the Uruguay River are, in some stretches, with a marker at the points where they bathe cities. This marker changes its color based on river level, with yellow indicating a hazard and red an area of danger.
Testing the functionality, it was not possible to see the level of some Brazilian rivers. In Nigeria, on a river with red markings, the Flood Hub opened a card showing the water level on a graph. At the top, a text indicated that the forecast is to continue rising.
By being able to monitor in real time and deliver the water level forecast, the tool can help governments prepare emergency services. In addition, of course, to informing the population to escape the area. It was not possible to find out whether the tool is capable of predicting a rapid rise in the river level — a situation that catches the authorities and the population off guard.
The functionality is available for Android and iOS smartphones with Google Search installed. In the video that teaches users how to use the toolwe can see that there is also a function to report how the water level is in the user’s region.
The method adopted by Google for the user to inform the water level is very practical and easy to understand. Aided by an art of a human body, the person affected by the flood will drag a button to indicate to which part of the body the water is reaching.