Recently, Google launched a new forecasting model that will allow doubling the lead time of its alerts. The model is claimed to provide more notice to governments and giving tens of millions of people an extra day or so to prepare.
The model supports Hindi, Bengali and seven other local languages. With the help of this new model, the tech giant will provide people with information about flood depth, such as when and how much flood-waters are likely to rise. The information is provided in various formats so that people can both read their alerts and see them presented visually.
Countries like India and Bangladesh are one of the most affected countries by flood every year. The tech giant has been working with governments on the flood forecasting initiative for about two years now.
In 2018, at their annual flagship conference Google For India, the search engine giant hinted that the company would use artificial intelligence and machine learning to not only predict natural disasters but also address healthcare issues in India.
In a blog post, Yossi Matias, VP Engineering & Crisis Response Lead at Google stated that the company has been expanding its forecasting models and services in partnership with the Indian Central Water Commission.
In June this year, the systems have been extended to the whole of India, with Google technology being used to improve the targeting of every alert the government sends. To date, the system has sent out around 30 million notifications to people in flood-affected areas in India.
In addition to expanding in India, the tech giant has also partnered with the Bangladesh Water Development Board to bring warnings and services to Bangladesh. Furthermore, Google.org has started a collaboration with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in order to improve the alerts.