Radical use of WiFi: monitoring flood levels, telemetry for flood forecasting

Since floods and water levels have been in the news lately as a result of the fierce storm that hit the East Coast of the United States, it’s time to look for outstanding examples of how to use good old Wi-Fi technology to help us deal better with the terrible fury of Nature and to plan ahead of time.

Check out the Thai Royal Irrigation Department’s deployment of the world’s longest Wi-Fi mesh network covering 372 kilometres (231 miles) along the flood-prone Chao Phraya River to monitor rising water levels during the monsoon season.

Flood gates Chao Phraya River

The Wi-Fi network delivers high-definition video feeds and real-time data concerning water levels to local officials, farmers and residents for flood forecasting and historical data collection. Thailand, like many countries in Southeast Asia, suffers from yearly devastating monsoon rains.

You can see the live VGA resolution video feed provided to the public (the HD feed is available to the officials in the control room).

Besides video, the Wi-Fi network supports a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system that communicates and monitors the functionality and physical status of large water gates and dams that influence the amount of water being released downstream. The system also collects and monitors river water levels continuously and records the data for real-time analysis. The ability to collect live telemetry data provides authorities with the information needed to make immediate mission-critical decisions, as well as capture necessary data to plan for future floods.

The Royal Irrigation Department uses equipment from Firetide, a Wi-Fi mesh infrastructure company based in Los Gatos, California. Firetide supplied the Ethernet connectivity for the wireless network.

control room monitoring mesh network

Futuristic looking control room of the Thai Royal Irrigation Department

In the 2011 monsoon season, the flooding of the Chao Phraya river reached levels unseen in more than half a century. Flood waters inundated nearly 240 thousand square kilometres of land with average depths of 1.8 to 3 metres. More than 12.8 million people were affected and more than 600 people died. The estimated cost of the 2011 flood in Thailand exceeds 45 billion USD. Because of this terrible experience, Thais have been checking the live feeds regularly with nearly 300,000 daily web hits.

To view real-time video of the river levels transmitted over Firetide’s wireless mesh network, visit http://203.150.226.24/.

Besides video, the Firetide wireless network supports a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system that communicates and monitors the functionality and physical status of large water gates and dams that influence the amount of water being released downstream. The system also collects and monitors river water levels continuously and records the data for real-time analysis. The ability to collect live telemetry data provides authorities with the information needed to make immediate mission-critical decisions, as well as capture necessary data to plan for future floods.

If you would like more details about the Wi-Fi mesh deployment in Thailand, please visit the Firetide case study about the Royal Irrigation Department’s network.

Related posts:

Vendor Directory Profile: Firetide

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