Flood Prevention technology

Technologies to watch water levels (by satellite, laser, underwater) & to make flood forecasts by bringing info together in one place.

map

Photo above of a light-detection and ranging map (LIDAR) gives the elevation of a given area using laser technology. LIDAR uses the reflection to construct a 3D view of a location, making it easy to see changes in the area. 

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Data, data everywhere, Analyst suggests setting up a water centre where all information is kept and technology deployed to make the best use of it by Suchit Leesa-nguansuk


A national water data centre should be a government focus to pool all fragmented water information resources, involving over 30 state agencies, says Royol Chitradon, director of the Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute.

A light-detection and ranging map (LIDAR) gives the elevation of a given area using laser technology. By sending shortwaves, LIDAR uses the reflection to construct a 3D view of a location, making it easy to see changes in the area. 

The centre would manage and analyse data, including rainfall volumes, water catchments, water release, sea water levels, canal and river levels, weather forecasts, flood-risk areas and water pump and gate operations.

"The hardware required for all this data can be easily obtained. But we need to integrate the data exchange to make it available for all parties involved," said Dr Royol, who is a representative of the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management.

A remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle is helpful to find drainage obstacles such as dense water hyacinth

The Thai government has been bombarded with a slew of questions and complaints from the public in the wake of the floods, but couldn't answer many of them due to a lack of basic data. More accurate data and the ability to analyse it are critical factors for the country's decision-makers to manage water so Thailand can avoid a repeat of the current disaster

Dr Royol urged the government to use light detection and ranging technology (LIDAR), a tool for measuring and recording elevation data to measure the height of flood-affected provinces. This technology could be used to develop a higher-resolution topographic system, which would have an error range of less than 20 centimetres.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said US President Barack Obama pledged the US government would send LIDAR experts to Thailand for assistance in flood provention. 

Dr Royol admitted drafting a city data model would be impossible because it was difficult to collect the height of each area, road, tile drain and dynamic construction. Agricultural landscapes would provide better accuracy.

The state might use the echo sounder to evaluate the depth of all major rivers and canals. It works by sending pressure waves down from the surface of the water and recording the time it takes the echo to return from the bottom.

"During the floods, we installed the echo sounder on boats to measure canal depths in Bangkok and Samut Sakhon province," he said.

Dr Royol said the availability of the echo sounder is still limited. But Thais know how to use it and can produce it locally, which could bring the price down to 100,000 baht per unit. 

He added the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles equipped with GPS, cameras and remote control for image capturing was helpful to find drainage obstacles such as dense water hyacinth.

Satellite images from the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency helped the government with flood relief and in determining which critical risk areas need immediate drainage.

A telemeter also proved effective in water drainage, especially at Chulalongkorn water gate, he said.

Dr Royol said the government needs to replace the computer-controlled watergate system with manual platforms to manage gates more effectively, particularly those in highly flooded areas that were difficult to access.

The Netherlands' advice was that city planners should consider all natural water sources including canals and rivers, drainage and water waste management in a water management plan.

The Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning, meanwhile, need to establish rules to control the height of roads, drains and construction so that they do not block drainage

(Source: Bangkok Post, Data, data everywhere, Analyst suggests setting up a water centre where all information is kept and technology deployed to make the best use of it, 30/11/2011, Suchit Leesa-nguansuk, link

Flood Prevention Technology Vocabulary

Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) - a remote sensing technology that can "measure the distance to, or other properties of a target by illuminating the target with light, often using pulses from a laser," used in mapping, archaeology, geography, geology, seismology (study of earthquakes), forestry, also called "laser radar" (See Wikipedia)

remote sensing - using satellites and aircraft to gather information about what is happening over large areas on the surface of the earth, "the acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon, without making physical contact with the object. In modern usage, the term generally refers to the use of aerial sensor technologies to detect and classify objects on Earth (both on the surface, and in the atmosphere and oceans) by means of propagated signals (e.g. electromagnetic radiation emitted from aircraft or satellites)" (See Wikipedia)

satellite - a device in outer space that does things like transmit television or telephone signals or take photos of the earth ดาวเทียม (See Wikipedia)

image
- any picture, especially one formed by a mirror or a lens ภาพ
satellite images - photos of the earth taken from outer space

Satellite images
helped in determining which critical risk areas need immediate drainage


telemeter -
a device used to remotely measure a quantity (See Wikipedia)
telemetry - a technology that allows measurements to be made at a distance by via radio waves, used in many areas including water management (See Wikipedia)

a telemeter also proved effective in water drainage

detection - the process of proving that something is present using scientific methods
elevation - the height of a place above the level of the sea ความภูมิฐาน

a light-detection and ranging map (LIDAR) gives the elevation of a given area using laser technology.
a tool for measuring and recording elevation data to measure the height of flood-affected provinces
by sending shortwaves, LIDAR uses the reflection to construct a 3D view of a location, making it easy to see changes in the area

resolution - image resolution, the detail and clearness of an image or photo, the number of pixels in the image (if you zoom in, then you can see more detail) (See Wikipedia)
high-resolution - an image with a lot of detail 

topography
- the description of the physical features of land such as valleys, mountains, hills and rivers and theie presentation on maps (See Wikipedia)
topographic (adjective)

topographic system - map making system (See Wikipedia)
a higher-resolution topographic system

data - facts or information used for making calculations or decisions ข้อมูล
national water data centre

deploy - prepare a resource so that it is ready to be used
deploy technology - prepare technology so that it is ready to be used
technology
deployed to make the best use of data

focus - the main project or taks (concentrating time and money on)  ให้ความสำคัญ
fragmented - not unified; broken into separate parts

resources - things such as money, workers, equipment and information that can be used to help achieve something ทรัพยากร
information resources - data and information that can be used to make decisions
fragmented information resources - meaning: the data that can be used to make decisions is not all in one place (difficult to find and gather together)

a government
focus to pool all fragmented water information resources

rainfall volumes -
the amounts of rain that fall during different times of the year
water catchment -
an area of land such as a mountain valley that gathers water from rainfall together into one place such as a stream or river, also called a drainage basin (See Wikipedia)

release - to set someone or something free ปล่อยเป็นอิสระ
water release - water released from dams (and then flowing down rivers, which can result in floods)

forecasts - what experts say will happen in the future คาดการณ์
weather forecasts - what weather experts expect the weather to be in the next week or so (See Wikipedia)

risk - danger, how likely or possible it is for a bad event that causes harm and damage ความเสี่ยง
flood-risk areas - areas that could be damaged by floods in the future

data exchange - when universities and government agencies work together and give each other the data they have
integrate - to combine things of different types in one effective system (so it all works together as a whole) รวมเข้าด้วยกัน
parties - people or companies entering into a business arrangement or deal

integrate
the data exchange to make it available for all parties involved

a representative of the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management.

remote - far away in distance ไกล far away from cities, difficult to get to ที่ห่างไกลจากความเจริญ (ของเมือง)
vehicle - a machine that you travel in or on, especially one with an engine that travels on roads, e.g., a car, bus, van, truck, etc. ยานพาหนะ

remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle - a airplane without humans in it, also sometimes called "drones" (See Wikipedia)

drainage
- the system of water or waste liquids flowing away from somewhere into the ground or down pipes การระบายน้ำ
obstacles - things that makes it difficult to go somewhere or do something อุปสรรค
drainage obstacles - things that make it difficult to drain and remove the water from an area

dense - very thick
water hyacinth -  a plant that grows on and floats on the water ผักตบชวา ชื่อละตินคือ Eichhornia crassipes (See Wikipedia)

a remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle is helpful to find drainage obstacles such as dense water hyacinth

complaints - when people say there is something wrong and they want it changed

bombarded - get hit with things (such a bomb from a plane)
a slew of - many
bombarded with a slew of questions

in the wake of -
after a big event
in the wake of the floods  

lack - does not have ขาดแคลน
a lack of basic data - do not even have the small of simple data needed to make decisions

the Thai government has been bombarded with a slew of questions and complaints from the public in the wake of the floods, but couldn't answer many of them due to a lack of basic data.

accurate - correct, exact and without any mistakes ถูกต้อง, แม่นยำ

critical
- extremely important because a future situation will be affected by it สำคัญยิ่ง
factors - the different things that affect the outcome of a situation, event, or decision  ปัจจัย

current
- of the present time ปัจจุบัน
disaster - something very bad that happens and causes a lot of damage or kills a lot of people ความหายนะ ภัยพิบัติ

More accurate data and the ability to analyse it are critical factors for the country's decision-makers to manage water so Thailand can avoid a repeat of the current disaster

urged - requested them to do, begged them to do; advised someone very strongly about what action should be taken วิงวอน

measure the height of flood-affected province

error
range - the amount that the measurement could be in error (5% to 10%, for example)

pledged - seriously promised to do something สาบาน

assistance - help (given to someone)
assistance in flood prevention

drafting - writing
dynamic - having a lot of ideas and enthusiasm; energetic and forceful จรวิสัย

drafting a city data model

dynamic - moving (not "static" or at rest)
construction - the work of building or making something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. การก่อสร้าง
dynamic construction.

provide - to give someone something that they want or need
accuracy - the correctness of information (even in small details)

agricultural landscapes
would provide better accuracy

echo - when the sound you make in a cave or valley or at cliffs comes back to you เสียงสะท้อน สะท้อน,  สะท้อนกลับ
sound echos

echo sounding - using sound pulses directed from the surface or from a boat or submarine downwards to the bottom of a river, lake, sea, etc to measure the distance to the bottom by means of sound waves (See Wikipedia)
echo sounder - the device used to do "echo sounding"

depth - the distance down either from the top of something to the bottom, or to a distance below the top surface of something ความลึก
canals - waterways to travel along or to drain water

use the
echo sounder to evaluate the depth of all major rivers and canals.

pressure waves
surface of the water

It works by sending
pressure waves down from the surface of the water and recording the time it takes the echo to return from the bottom.

the availability of the echo sounder is still limited.

screen - to check something to see if something is acceptable
device - a machine or piece of equipment that does a particular job อุปกรณ์ เครื่องมือ เครื่องจักร

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles equipped with GPS, cameras and remote control for image capturing was helpful to find drainage obstacles such as dense water hyacinth.

relief - help for improving a bad physical condition or a bad situation การผ่อนคลาย, การบรรเทา help; assistance การช่วยให้พ้นภัย
flood relief

effective - works well, gets the job done; producing the result that was intended ได้ผลดี
proved effective - has been effective over a long period of time (proved itself)

replace - to get rid of someone or something and to put a new person or thing in their place หาคนมาแทน, เลิกให้และนำสิ่งใหม่มาใช้แทน
manual
- not automatic or computerized (a human must do it; usually by using their hands = manual) 
effectively - working well and producing the results that they wanted

the government needs to replace the computer-controlled watergate system with manual platforms to manage gates more effectively

access - the ability to get something; the right or opportunity to have or use something ได้รับสิทธิ์หรือโอกาสในการใช้
highly flooded areas that were difficult to access.

natural - found in nature (not made in a factory by humans) ตามธรรมชาติ
waste water - used dirty water from homes and businesses that must be treated before being released into rivers

should consider all
natural water sources including canals and rivers, drainage and water waste management in a water management plan.

establish - to start a company or organization that will likely continue for a long time สถาปนา, ก่อตั้ง, จัดตั้ง
block - to stop something from moving through or along something else กีดขวาง ปิดกั้น

need to establish rules to control the height of roads, drains and construction so that they do not block drainage. 

About the author

columnist
Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer