Co-authored by Nick Grossman.
Thanks to major advances in GPS technology and the proliferation of mobile phones, we are used to predicting the arrival of everyday items with incredible accuracy. You can watch a Domino’s pizza make its way down the block to you in real time and receive push notifications on exactly where and when to meet your Uber driver.
However, when it comes to severe weather events such as flooding, we are still left largely in the dark. Flood alerts are limited to emergency weather texts sent en masse that encourage people to get to higher ground with little to no specificity on time frame or severity. This is not only a bad user experience, but dangerous, as people are getting used to ignoring the alerts.
In the meantime, rising sea levels and extreme weather have made flooding one of the most salient effects of climate change felt today on a global scale. 1.5 billion people worldwide face flood risk. In the US alone, floods have caused an average of $579 billion a year over the last decade. This figure excludes flooding from tropical cyclones which caused an additional $54.4 billion in average annual damage, including storm surge flooding and catastrophic rainfall events caused by hurricanes.
Floodmapp, the first adaptation-focused investment in our climate fund, is tackling this head on.
Floodmapp’s real-time hydraulic flood modeling software covers the US and Australia today. Their models receive over 4 million data points every hour from integrations with 35k+ river and tidal sensors across federal, state, and local agencies (USGS, NOAA, etc) as well as proprietary data from customers and partners. These models are extremely granular, down to the street or even house level, at 1-10m resolution.
Floodmapp’s three products, ForeCast, NowCast, and PostCast, help provide intelligence before, during, and after events that can save lives, prevent damage, and aid in recovery. This vital situational awareness can be used to understand where to plan evacuations, identify assets at risk, or track real-time road hazards and closures. To date, Floodmapp has worked with customers such as the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, and the City of Norfolk, Virginia, but the use case for Floodmapp’s products extends far beyond governments to companies with physical assets and insurers as well.
FloodMapp NowCast is being used by the City of Norfolk to predict flooded road hazards and closures in real-time as flooding unfolds.
One of the most exciting aspects about Floodmapp to us is the improvement in data over time made possible by customer-specific elevation modeling and two-way user feedback loops through a live partnership with Waze.
We are incredibly excited to partner with Juliette and Ryan, cofounders with deep expertise in flood engineering and scalable software on the next phase of their journey with Floodmapp. Check out opportunities to join the Floodmapp team here.