Computer software can be used to predict floods and limit damage. A new website in Thailand shares the open source secrets of its construction.
Over the last few months, Thailand experienced extensive flooding.
With a better flood warning system proactive steps could have been taken to warn people living in areas at risk and limit damage (Read previous article).
Today's article provides details on the software system that one government agency put into action during the recent floods: www.thaifloodwatch.net.
This an extract from a longer article. Read the full version here.
Click button to listen to Flood Monitoring Technology and rightclick to download
Taking lessons from the floods: The disaster-management technology is in place, so hopefully it can be put to better use by Suchit Leesa-nguansuk
...The recent floods make it clear that the Kingdom needs to learn more about climate change and how it may affect ocean cycles and seasonal weather patterns, as studies based on previous statistics may be rendered irrelevant by such change.
One example of a preventative strategy is the Water Resource Forecast model and the establishment of an infrastructure that can direct excess water from rivers and canals away from risk areas.
Major cities around the world such as Paris and Berlin have such water plans and designs," said Dr Royol...
...Last month, the institute launched www.thaifloodwatch.net, showing water levels, quantity of rain, weather forecasts, sea levels, and so on.
This data is then overlayed with GIS to better analyse the information and display it in layers so that is can be more easily understood.
The site will continue to be developed and it is hoped that more data will be added later, such as the height of land and depth of soil.
This can help us to predict the amount and direction of water flow and find resolutions to disasters more quickly," said Dr Royol...
...Dr Royol added that the site was set up in just one day thanks to existing technology ranging from open source databases to OpenLayers which allow for dynamic mapping of any web page. It can display map tiles and markers loaded from any source.
OpenLayers has been developed to further the use of geographic data. It also employs development tools that convert GIS files to XML and software that can connect GIS with databases.
These open-source technologies, combined with grid computing or high-performance computing and the core skill expertise of human resources, enabled us to get the site up and running in one day," he said.
These technologies are commonly used by the institute in its aim to develop and apply science and technology knowledge in agricultural and water resource management in order to cope with critical climate change.
It also has know-how in mobile telemetering - equipment used to determine physical, chemical and biological denominations, for example noise levels, temperature, humidity, PH balance and oxygen levels - as well as imaging and system status.
The system automatically submits captured data to a specific destination via GPRS. Mobile telemetering is easy to install and use in remote areas.
The Water Resource Management Model works by applying mathematic models at operational level, such as computing water basin volume, water flow speed and flooding scales on the river bank by using this information along with existing output from water drainage, distribution and reserve plan to manage water resources
As well as knowledge management that link and integrate different pools of knowledge and conception together, enabling the boundless expansion of learning and intellectuals...
These all offer risk-probability analysis when used with existing statistics.
This will help to quantify the risk of floods and droughts, especially in areas which are vulnerable to both, which should enable us to solve problems more accurately and quickly," said Dr Royol...
(Source: Bangkok Post, Taking lessons from the floods, The disaster-management technology is in place, so hopefully it can be put to better use, 17/11/2010, Suchit Leesa-nguansuk, link)
extensive flooding - floods over large areas of land, over large areas of the country
flood warning system - forecasting and predicting the river level at different places and then using this to issue warnings to the public if necessary (See Wikipedia and Google images and example1 and example2)
proactive - acting to cause change and improvement before problems happen, rather than merely passively reacting to problems (this is the first good habit of the "Seven habits of highly effective people," See Wikipedia on Proactive)
proactive steps - actions you can take to stop or prevent problems before they happen
at risk - danger exists, there is possibility that harm or damage might happen
disaster - something very bad that happens and causes a lot of damage or kills a lot of people ความหายนะ ภัยพิบัติ
clear - easy to understand
climate - the general weather conditions usually found in a particular place (snow, rain, hot-cool temperature, humidity) สภาพอากาศ
climate change - big changes in the climate such as increases in green-house gases in the atmosphere created by humans that have a negative long-term effect on the environment (See Wikipedia)
ocean cycles - the rise and fall of tides in the ocean
tides - the regular rise and fall of sea levels "caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun and the rotation of the Earth" (See Wikipedia)
season (noun) - a period of time during the year, with a certain type of weather (examples: spring, summer, fall, winter) ฤดูกาล
seasonal (adjective) - happening in different seasons ตามฤดูกาล
seasonal weather patterns - how the weather changes through the year (rainy season, cool-dry season, hot season)
statistics - facts about something, described by counting them สถิติ
rendered - made to be ถูกทำให้
irrelevant - not important to what you are discussing or doing ที่ไม่เกี่ยวข้องกัน ไม่สัมพันธ์กัน
prevent (verb) - act to stop something from happening ป้องกัน
prevention (noun) - the activity of stopping something from happening การป้องกัน
preventative (adjective) - เกี่ยวกับการป้องกันโรค, ซึ่งป้องกัน
strategy - a plan to achieve long term goals ('strategy' gives the big picture, 'tactics' the details)
infrastructure - the high-cost facilities that everyone in the economy shares (water, roads, electricity, trains) สาธารณูปโภค (See Google Definitions)
direct X from Y to Z - take action to make Y go to Z
excess - greater than is usual; too much of something มากเกินปริมาณที่พอดี
risk - the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen ความเสี่ยง
launched - started เริ่มต้นดำเนินการ
forecasts - what experts say will happen in the future คาดการณ์
weather forecasts - what the weather is likely to be in the near future, according to experts (See Wikipedia)
data - facts or information used for making calculations or decisions ข้อมูล
site - short for "website"
depth - the distance down either from the top of something to the bottom, or to a distance below the top surface of something ความลึก
soil - dirt, earth ดิน (See Wikipedia)
predict - to say that an event or action will happen in the future, especially as a result of knowledge or experience คาดการณ์ว่า พยากรณ์จากสถิติว่า
resolution - solution to a problem
open source - computer software for which the source code is freely available (See Wikipedia)
dynamic mapping - having software create a map right now, when you ask for it (not creating map before and storing on website)
dynamic - moving and changing continually (not at rest or static)
geography (noun) - the way in which people and things are arranged in an area, the shape of the land in an area (mountains, hills, valleys, plains, etc) ภูมิศาสตร์
GIS - Geographical Information System, a software computer system that captures, stores, analyzes, manages, and presents data that are linked to locations on maps (See Wikipedia)
XML - "a text format for creating structured computer documents," HTML is one kind of XML (See Wikipedia)
software development - the process of writing computer programs (See Wikipedia)
development tools - computer programs to help create computer programs and/or websites
convert - change from one system to another system
file conversion - changing files from one structure or format to another (when changing from one computer system to another)
grid computing - using many computers connected together over the internet to solve difficult problems that require lots of computations (See Wikipedia)
performance - how well or badly something works
high-performance computing - using computers that are very fast and can perform many comnputations and do a lot of work in a short period of time
core - the most important and central part แก่น สิ่งที่สำคัญที่สุด
expertise - a high level of knowledge or skill in some area of work or knowledge ทักษะความรู้, ความคิดเห็นของผู้เชี่ยวชาญ
core - most important
skill - knowing how to do a task well
expertise - special knowledge or skills ทักษะความรู้, ความคิดเห็นของผู้เชี่ยวชาญ
resources - things such as money, workers and equipment that can be used to help achieve something ทรัพยากร
human resources - HR, (See Wikipedia)
get the site up and running - do the work needed to open a website
aim - purpose; goal เป้าหมาย จุดมุ่งหมาย
apply - to make use of something นำมาใช้
water resource management - the process of the government monitoring water resources, controlling their use and also prediting floods, preventing them by drainage or rerouting if possible and making preparations for evacuation of the population if they happen (See Wikipedia)
cope - to deal successfully with a difficult situation รับมือกับ (See glossary)
critical - extremely important because a future situation will be affected by it สำคัญยิ่ง
determine - decide what will happen กำหนด
physical - real things that can be touched and seen (not just an idea or legal right)
denominations - the value of or level of something, some measurement
PH balance - in chemistry a measure that shows whether some substance is more acidic (acid) or less acidic (alkaline, basic) (See Wikipedia)
humidity - the amount of water that is present in the air, dampness and moisture in the air ความชุ่มชื้น
status - the situation at a particular time
submit - send or give something to some person (or here: give data to a machine or software system)
captured data - data recorded, data collected by an instrument at a location measuring something (example: temperature measurements captured and sent to the main computer where they are stored)
destination - the place where someone or something is going จุดหมายปลายทาง
install - put a piece of equipment somewhere and make it ready to be used ติดตั้งอุปกรณ์
remote - far away ไกล, far away from cities, difficult to get to ที่ห่างไกลจากความเจริญ (ของเมือง)
models - a system, a simple description of how a system works (to help you understand it)
mathematic models - a description of how a system works using mathematics
operational - able to work normally and be used ที่สามารถใช้งานได้
volume - the quantity or amount of something
flooding scales - marks on the side of a river for measuring the height of the water
bank - a raised area of land along the side of a river ริมฝั่งแม่น้ำ
drainage - the system of water or waste liquids flowing away from somewhere into the ground or down pipes การระบายน้ำ
distribution - giving or delivering things to many people การจำหน่ายออกไป
reserve - kept for future use ที่จัดสรรไว้ สำรอง, something currently not being used but that can be used when needed สำรองไว้
link - to connect เชื่อม
integrate - to combine things of different types in one effective system รวมเข้าด้วยกัน
conceptions - ideas
integrate - bring together and combine (so it all works together as a whole)
expansion - when something increases in size, number or importance การขยายออก
vulnerable - easily affected or damaged ที่เปราะบาง ที่ล่อแหลมต่อการเกิดภัยภิบัติ
enable - to make someone able to do something, or to make something possible ทำให้เป็นไปได้
Latest stories in this category:
- Thailand's dilemma
- Protests: Orders from Suthep
- Protests: "Final push" not yet final
- What will happen next in Thai politics? (from the editorial pages)
- Protests: Marching day, PM dissolves parliament
- Protests: “Final battle” starts tomorrow
- A big language challenge
- Chiang Khong bridge to open December 11th