July 2023

Creating an Online Flood Portal Using waterRIDE LITE - Part 2 of 3 - Why?

As part of the user experience phase in developing waterRIDE LITE, we carried out interviews with community and Council representatives, and scoured social media comments to get a broad "read" on the community's appetite for flood data in the wake of extensive flooding in recent years.

A common theme across all responses was a desire to access flooding information that was understandable and actionable, whenever it is needed. 

Many commented that they felt somewhat “let down” by a lack of clear and usable information. Whilst others commented that where information was available, they were not familiar with it, were unable to interpret it, and therefore unable to use it.

Another interesting theme was the role of social media, forums and online commentary, with the scope for the spread of accidental misinformation around flooding, even if the initial intent was to provide clarity. To counter this, the research showed that the community are seeking authoritative, Government-based data sources as a means of accessing the "correct" data, with links to these sources being readily shared across social media. 

The research also categorised usage requirements and introduced the concept of three use cases in which flooding data is needed: before a flood, during a flood, and after a flood.

Whilst the same data may be used to fulfill each use case, it may need to be presented in a different manner to provide both context and be usable under the circumstances associated with each use case.

For example, when looking to purchase a property (before a flood), the data user will likely have time to comprehend some detail in the information. However, that same user may not have the capacity to comprehend the same information under the highly stressful situation of a flood. This leads to the concept of the end users state of mind, and will be discussed in our final installment.

Further discussion of the research is available in Cameron Druery's FMA conference (2023) paper, Empowering The Community - Access to Usable Flood Information.

There is no doubt that there is a desire to access flooding information by the community. Anecdotally, the waterRIDE LITE systems that are already in operation show a steady stream of activity on a daily basis.

With less than a handful of questions from the users of these systems over the past 10 months, it also indicates that a simple data access interface can help the community "help themselves". In one instance, Council representatives have commented that their time spent responding to general flood information enquiries had dropped by 90%!

The "why" case for making flood information available is strong, from both a community demand and efficiency of supply perspective. The challenge then becomes "how" we can provide information that is:
   - Easy to find and use
   - Relevant
   - Clear
   - Decision ready

We will explore what's involved in creating such a system in the next newsletter, although, with waterRIDE LITE, we can confirm that it's a very straightforward process. 

Latest waterRIDE Release 10.95 - Maps, Maps, Maps...

Those with active maintenance plans should have received a download link for the latest version of waterRIDE whilst those with a CLOUD subscription have been automatically upgraded.

One of the key new improvements is the expansion of waterRIDE's background imagery to include:
- BING Maps (StreetMap, Aerials, Aerials + Labels)
- Google Maps (Maps, Satellite, Hybrid, Terrain)
- XYZ Server Imagery (Open Street Maps, CartoDB, ESRI, etc)

We've updated the waterRIDE online help with details on how to add Google and BING imagery to your projects using an Image Toggle.

Just remember that these mapping services use Web Mercator projection. waterRIDE 's rapid-reproject algorithm works brilliantly on gridded surfaces, it cannot be applied to vector datasets. This means they must still be fully reprojected on the fly, which may result in an increase screen redraw times when fully zoomed out.

waterRIDE 1D - Update For res1d

We are pleased to announce that the latest release of waterRIDE 1D (v10.10) fully supports the new DHI *.res1d results file format.

We have implemented a new conversion algorithm that directly references DHI's .net SDK which should provide a future-proof solution should the file format change again.

As the DHI SDK is written in .NET, you will need to ensure you have installed the appropriate version of the .NET libraries when running waterRIDE 1D to access the new conversion routine.

Reminder: "On-prem" License Servers - End of Life

With our web-based license server being operational for the past 2 years with zero downtime, the "on-prem" waterRIDE License Server application has now officially reached its end of life.

The web-based license server provides a more convenient and reliable means for waterRIDE Classic users to use their waterRIDE license(s) anywhere there is internet access, and removes the need for local IT to support an additional server application.

You can continue to use your "on-prem" license server (assuming maintenance is fully paid), but we will not be issuing any updates to the server software.

To transition, just contact us and we'll move your organisation across to the web server (no additional fee).

FMA Conference - Sydney, May 2023

We thoroughly enjoyed catching up with our users at the FMA conference in Sydney in May, although with the number of attendees we may not have been able to speak with everyone!

Zhifang's paper on an operational flood forecasting systems for rail operations generated a good amount of interest and showcased some interesting technical approaches for remote area flood forecasting.

Cameron's paper on the journey to putting usable flood information in the communities hands certainly stirred up quite a buzz with the booth busy fielding enquiries and discussions on waterRIDE LITE. The full paper is available here.

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