Cell broadcasting for dissemination of flood warnings
By DHI, 07/06/2005

The dissemination of flood warnings to people living in flood prone areas has often been ineffective, late and of limited value. Quick and efficient mass communication during critical hours of natural disasters is a challenge in any society. Now, new technology is available to provide efficient and focused dissemination of flood warnings to flood prone people. The new technology is based on flood maps produced by DHI technology and cell broadcasting services developed by IBS.

In numerous flood prone areas world-wide the MIKE suite of water simulation models developed by DHI is applied to provide flood forecasts, flood maps and other associated flood information a number of days ahead.

Typically the flood warning information is disseminated through web sites, authorities, NGO’s, TV and so on. But now it has become possible to disseminate important flood warnings through cell broadcasting in order to utilise all active cell phones within a given flood prone area for important warnings. The digital flood maps computed by the MIKE models are simply interpreted by the IBS developed cell broadcasting software and transformed into cell phone messages to a limited geographical area.

Cell broadcasting is an existing function of most modern digital mobile phone systems such as GSM and UMTS. It differs from SMS in that, while it does put text messages on the screen of the phone like SMS does, it does this to 'all-at-once' and not one-at-a-time as SMS does.

Innovative Business Software A/S has developed a concept that can transmit flood warnings to people in a local area using Cell Broadcasting technology. Project manager Jens Larsen from Innovative Business Software A/S expects a significant increase in the use of cell broadcasting within the next 1-3 years. He says: “By using the cell broadcasting technology we have developed a simple and very effective solution for an urgent purpose that certainly will save lives".

The solution of communicating vital flood warnings through all active cell phones in a flood prone area is expected to be widely used in the coming years. Jacob Høst-Madsen from DHI says: “If flood warning and cell broadcasting had been used during the tsunami disaster 26th December 2004, the human disaster could have been limited significantly". He continues: “All flood forecasting systems in heavily populated areas will really be able to benefit from this new dissemination concept".

For further information please contact:

Mr. Jens Larsen jl@innovative.dk, Innovative Business Software A/S
Mr. Jacob Høst-Madsen jhm@dhi.dk, DHI water & Environment