Connecting state and local government leaders
NYC FloodNet sensors deployed across New York City measure the depth of flood water and report real-time data to a map-based dashboard showing flooding over time at each sensor location.
As storm season approaches, New York City is taking advantage of an application that provides an interactive map that communities and government agencies can use to alert users to rising waters in flood-prone areas.
The NYC FloodNet project is a partnership between New York City government agencies, communities, university researchers and FieldKit, a nonprofit that develops open hardware and website platforms.
Currently, 29 NYC FloodNet ultrasonic sensors are deployed in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. They measure the depth of flood waters and report real-time data to a mobile-friendly dashboard, allowing users to see flooding over time at each sensor location. The map-based dashboard is searchable and also includes historical data, so users can explore the frequency and severity of flooding that occurred during specific storms or as a result of high tides, seawater surges or overburdened stormwater drains.
At a recent press conference marking the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 hurricane claimed the lives of at least 13 people in the city, Mayor Eric Adams highlighted the role of the existing sensors and said 500 new sensors will be installed over the next five years to improve evacuation recommendations, travel bans or road closures.
“The storm dumped rainfall on our city at a record breaking 3.75 inches an hour — nearly doubling the city’s previous records. These sensors recorded it all for future storm management,” Adams said. “Now we have this [historical] data. We're able to understand, when we partner with the Office of Emergency Management and our other operations at [the Department of Environmental Protection], we can use this data to predict the behavior of the storms.”
“This is the first time that quantitative data on urban flood occurrence, depth and duration have been measured and provided to the public — we’re excited to share the dashboard with communities, city agency partners and other researchers,” said Andrea Silverman, an assistant professor of environmental engineering at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, a partner in the NYC FloodNet project. “We’ve heard many stories and desired use cases for the data from a variety of stakeholders and are looking forward to seeing how these communities end up using the real-time and [historical] flood data.”