Human-centered flood mapping and intelligent routing through augmenting flood gauge data with crowdsourced street photos
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Human-centered flood mapping and intelligent routing through augmenting flood gauge data with crowdsourced street photos

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  • Journal Title:
    Advanced Engineering Informatics
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    The number and intensity of flood events have been on the rise in many regions of the world. In some parts of the U.S., for example, almost all residential properties, transportation networks, and major infrastructure (e.g., hospitals, airports, power stations) are at risk of failure caused by floods. The vulnerability to flooding, particularly in coastal areas and among marginalized populations is expected to increase as the climate continues to change, thus necessitating more effective flood management practices that consider various data modalities and innovative approaches to monitor and communicate flood risk. Research points to the importance of reliable information about the movement of floodwater as a critical decision-making parameter in flood evacuation and emergency response. Existing flood mapping systems, however, rely on sparsely installed flood gauges that lack sufficient spatial granularity for precise characterization of flood risk in populated urban areas. In this paper, we introduce a floodwater depth estimation methodology that augments flood gauge data with user-contributed photos of flooded streets to reliably estimate the depth of floodwater and provide ad-hoc, risk-informed route optimization. The performance of the developed technique is evaluated in Houston, Texas, that experienced urban floods during the 2017 Hurricane Harvey. A subset of 20 user-contributed flood photos in combination with gauge readings taken at the same time is used to create a flood inundation map of the experiment area. Results show that augmenting flood gauge data with crowdsourced photos of flooded streets leads to shorter travel time and distance while avoiding flood-inundated areas.
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    Advanced Engineering Informatics, 54, 101730
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