#FloodHack inspired ideas to improve global flood forecasting

The #FloodHack on 16 -17 January at ECMWF in Reading brought together about 50 volunteers from ECMWF, universities, environmental consultancies and software development companies over a weekend of development. Their goal was to explore ways of making the Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS) more user-friendly for its end-users.


Florian Pappenberger from ECMWF explains the motivation for #FloodHack

Tools that could save lives worldwide

After some introduction to GloFAS and brainstorming around challenges that needed to be addressed, the participants were free to form teams and formulate a problem that could be solved within the time given. Five teams entered the competition and set out to create a prototype that would please the judges in terms of its technical solution, its wow factor and innovation. The three winning entries were:

  • LIVE (Logistic and Infrastructure Visual Evaluation)
    Using GloFAS forecast information to create a ‘Time to respond’ map
    Sets out to summarise GloFAS forecast information into a ‘Time to respond’ map that helps decision-making before and during a flood emergency. This is presented in a user-friendly way with key statistics which could help decision-making.
  • FloodIT
    Provides more intuitive information based on the GloFAS output to help local users understand their situation.
  • Interception
    A Flood Awareness Education Platform
    An educational game/online interactive platform to help inform people about what they should be doing when a flood watch/warning alert is issued in their region. Also, the game/platform will educate them on what to do during and after a flood event.

The event was a good example of how different communities can come together to solve problems and come up with new ideas to use and display probabilistic forecasts. The participants were not necessarily experts in flood modelling but brought other skill sets and ideas to the table. The tweets from the event nicely summarize all the creative activity during the event!


The participants of #FloodHack. Photo: Silke Zollinger


  1. Well done to all floodhackers. It was really interesting to follow the Hashtag #Floodhack on Twitter:

    It was impressive to see the enthusiasm, dedication, fun and friendship that was going on there. It fully transpired and reached me. Again congratulation to all of you for this experiment!


  2. Massimiliano, It was good fun and a very useful experience, especially when it comes to the different ways of accessing and using large amounts of data. We will definitely repeat it in a not to far future.


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