CONNECT researchers test smart solutions to address flooding in Dublin

Posted on: 31 May 2017

CONNECT, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks at Trinity College Dublin, has partnered with Smart Dublin, an initiative of Dublin City Council and the other Dublin Local Authorities, and INTEL to deploy low-cost sensors across the capital to monitor rainfall, weather conditions and river levels.

The new sensors will communicate data wirelessly to Dublin City Council’s operations team, which will analyse water levels and take appropriate action. The sensors will use CONNECT’s Internet of Things network — ‘Pervasive Nation’ — to provide city authorities with an early warning of potential flooding.

Jamie Cudden, Smart City Programme Manager, Dublin City Council with Professor Linda Doyle, Director of CONNECT, at the deployment of new Internet of Things rainfall sensors in Dublin.

Gerard O’Connell of Dublin City Council’s Flood Advisory Office said: “This pilot project has the potential to revolutionise our rainfall and water level monitoring systems around the city, making the capital safer for its citizens and visitors. Flood damage to the city infrastructure ranges from €2m to €100m per annum currently, with an average of around €8m per annum. This figure is increasing due to sea level rises and more intense rainfall events.”

Professor Linda Doyle, Director of CONNECT at Trinity College Dublin said:  “The new detectors make use of a new communications technology called LoRa™ which is a low power, wide area network offered by CONNECT’s network  ‘Pervasive Nation’. The network has low power demands which mean the sensors have a very long battery life. The ‘Internet of Things’ is about installing low cost sensors on everyday objects and connecting them to the internet for information exchange and communications. This opens up all sorts of possibilities in terms of tracking, monitoring and management. This Smart Dublin initiative is a good example of how Internet of Things can be of practical benefit to citizens.”

Jamie Cudden, Smart City Programme Manager, Dublin City Council, said: “Dublin is emerging as a leading location for Smart City and Internet of Things (IoT) innovations. INTEL’s ‘Dublin Living Lab Programme’ has already carried out some initial flood monitoring activity across the city which has led to the prototyping of a set of river and rainfall sensors. Projects like this demonstrate how low-cost environmental sensor networks can be scaled to generate useful and actionable flood data for communities living across the city.

The second phase of the project, led by the CONNECT Centre and Dublin City Council, involves scaling these river and rainfall sensors to more locations around Dublin. The sensors are currently being deployed at several locations around the city including Ballymun Library, the Bannow Road Drainage Depot in Cabra, the storm overflow tank in Clontarf, and at the UCD campus in Belfield.