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News Archive 2011

Excursion: Flood Early Warning in the Amsterdam area

Visit to digitally monitored flood defences

18 November 2011 


During the International Water Week Amsterdam UrbanFlood and Waternet organised an excursion in the Watergraafsmeer on November 1, 2011.

With an international group of about 15 persons we visited the supercomputing centre SARA at Science Park, where Floris Sluiter introduced us to the secrets of Cloud Computing and we could admire the enormous computer facility. Next we walked in the beautiful autumn sun on the Science Park embankment to look at the gate that can be used to close inflow from the Amsterdam-Rhine canal in case of an emergency. After a quick look at the flood doors in the railway embankment we continued to the UrbanFlood sensor location in the north-east Watergraafsmeer dike, where Erik Peters (Alert Solutions) demonstrated and explained the sensors and the installation process, which lead to a very interesting discussion. Back at Waternet  Liesbeth Hersbach (Waternet) gave a short recap of  the overall system that protects the Watergraafsmeer polder, and showed a  video of the renovation of the inflatable barrier in the Ringvaart at the ‘Omval’, a crucial part of this system.

Finally, Jeroen Broekhuijsen (TNO, UrbanFlood) demonstrated the UrbanFlood multi-touch table, and invited everyone to try for themselves. All too soon the bus had to leave for the RAI again. The excursion was a success, thanks to all involved. Download the program.



Common Information Space

29 October 2011

The Common Information Space (CIS), developed by Cyfronet AGH Dice team is a service-oriented software framework  facilitating development, deployment and reliable operation of complex  systems which rely on scientific computations. … more  

CGW11 - the Eleventh Cracow Grid Workshop

29 October 2011

UrbanFlood project will be present at CGW11 in Krakow.  Rob Meijer (Project Coordinator UrbanFlood), will give a keynote lecture, and 2 posters will be presenting CIS for 3 days. Follow this link for more information.   

UrbanFlood at the ICFM5

14 October 2011


On 27-29 September 2011, the 5th International Conference on Flood Management (ICFM5) was held in Tokyo, Japan with more than 450 participants gathered from 40 different nations throughout the world. ICFM5 is the only international conference focused solely on flood related issues, organised every 3 years. This year the theme was: “Floods: From Risk to Opportunity”.


As Japan and the world were shocked by the news and images of the March 11 mega-quake, tsunami and the horrible aftermath, this once in a thousand year event clearly underscores the need for preparedness and continued research into ways to prevent or reduce flood damage and protect life and livelihoods. The organising committee decided to dedicate the first day of the conference to ‘mega-flood disasters’; the mega-tsunami in Japan and other recent hydro-meteorological catastrophes in the world. High-level decision-makers, experts and officials, including ministers and even the crown-prince of Japan participated to discuss flood management issues and share lessons learned and best practices on emergency response and recovery.


During the second and third day a total of 180 oral presentations and 50 poster presentations were scheduled; while the presentations were short the discussion and exchange of ideas was good and very useful. The conference was, as always, a place to meet with many experts on flood risk management from all around the world, and to learn about ongoing and new developments. It was satisfying to see that, after the Japanese, the Dutch formed the largest group, underscoring the important position of flood management in the Netherlands.


UrbanFlood was well-represented in this conference, with a poster presentation by Jonathan Simm entitled “Instrumenting the performance of levees as part of real-time flood management: an application of the EU UrbanFlood project at Boston UK” [pdf], and two parallel session presentations: “Smart Levees” by Bernhard Lang, and “Flood Warning Systems: sensors and the internet” [pdf] by Bob Pengel. All three were well received. Several other presentations underscored the importance of using new ICT and sensor techniques to increase flood safety. We are looking forward to hearing even more presentations on these subjects at ICFM6, to be held in Brazil in 2014.

Follow this link for more information on the ICFM5.

UrbanFlood at Innovatie Estafette

4 October 2011


UrbanFlood presented at the exhibition of the Innovation Estafette in Rotterdam, together with the IJkdijk Foundation and the STOWA. Follow this link for more information (Dutch)

                                                               STOWA at Innovatie Estafette
UrbanFlood at Innovatie Estafette

3 million grant for LiveDijk concept

4 October 2011

3 million for 'Live Dikes' in Groningen and Utrecht.

The dike of the future is strong and smart. Netherlands is looking for technologies that make smart dikes. As in the LiveDijk concept in which sensors provide ‘live’ information about the strength and the condition of the dike. During the Innovation Estafette in the Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam Minister Atsma (Ministry of infrastructure and the environment) announced the up-scaling of the LiveDijk concept with three million euros.

Follow this link for more information (Dutch)

Boston UK: inauguration of smart dike

22 September 2011

On Wednesday 14 September the ‘smart dike’ that was installed in April and May this year was officially inaugurated. In a well-attended meeting the participants learned about the installation of the sensors in the dike right behind the meeting room, the UrbanFlood system was demonstrated and the Environment Agency explained the plans for the Boston flood barrier and the rehabilitation of navigable waterways. Mr. Steve Lumb, of the Boston Borough Council, expressed his interest in and support for solutions that help keep the citizens of Boston safer from flooding. The meeting was concluded with a visit to the actual site, where the data terminals in the lock house were the only parts of the network that was visible. The multi-touch screen was made available by Touchez of London, and an impression of the day and a short video of the demonstration can be found at

Presentations Boston UK Workshop

UrbanFlood, Robert Meijer, TNO Download Presentation

Boston Barrier Proposals Aims and Strategy, Nicolas Rowlinson, Environment Agency’s Project Manager Download Presentation

Boston Barrier Proposals Design Considerations, Charles Schelpe and Halcrow Jacobs Alliance, Environment Agency Download Presentation

Managing flood risk in Boston, Leila Farhan, Environment Agency and Steve Lumb, Boston Borough Council Download Presentation

Boston Understanding Flood Defence Performance using Monitoring Systems, Jonathan Simm, HR Wallingford. Download Presentation Part 1 + Part 2

Modelling the Consequences of Defence Breach, Julien Lhomme, HR Wallingford

Follow this link to a video 'Example life safety model' Download Presentation

Boston UK, source: B. Pengel            

Meet STOWA and UrbanFlood at the Innovation Estafette (relay) 2011 (Dutch)

22 September 2011


The “Club van Maarssen” will organize the Innovatie-Estafette 2011 at Tuesday 4 October in Rotterdam. The venue is the Van Nelle Ontwerpfabriek. During the day the private sector, research institutes and authorities will show the latest developments in environment, mobility, transport, spatial planning and water. STOWA is one of the participants. Are you coming too? Click here to register (in Dutch – the event language is Dutch).


During the day you can participate in interesting workshops on the theme ‘water’. STOWA will present several innovative projects and programs.


Where are we, what do we do?


During the Innovatie-estafette 2011 you can find STOWA in the Koffiefabriek at the ground floor, stand number 7. In the stand we will present the IJkdijk/LiveDijk & UrbanFlood, NEWater & De Energiefabriek, Daklab and Deltaproof & Deltafacts. Come along, ask, listen and participate in discussions with researchers and professionals, trailblazers and experts.


11.30 - 12.00 uur Deltaproof & Deltafacts (Dutch)

12.00 - 13.00 uur Daklab (Dutch)

13.30 - 14.00 uur Deltaproof & Deltafacts (Dutch)

14.30 - 15.30 uur IJkdijk(Dutch) & UrbanFlood

16.00 - 17.00 uur NEWater & Energiefabriek (Dutch)

18.00 - 18.30 uur Deltaproof & Deltafacts (Dutch)

Boston UK workshop UrbanFlood  

20 August 2011


We would like to inform you about a workshop UrbanFlood organizes in Boston, UK. It takes places at September 14th, 2011. Although UrbanFlood cannot fund your cost of getting and staying there, it might be an idea for you to attend it!


The workshop is organized to "celebrate" the occasion of the instalation and operation of a "non-continental" dike monitoring sensornetwork. It targets at first instance an UK audience, presenting UrbanFlood, UrbanFlood scientific results and the Boston site.


The Wiltham River flows through the centre of the town of Boston and into the Wash, where a dike is monitored. The tidal differences are huge there, some 4 meters, and it massively influences the dike. The workshop discusses amongst others these influences.

Follow this link for more information, the program and registration.

New sites monitored by UrbanFlood

8 August 2011


The new sites monitored by UrbanFlood are:

  • A bridge at Almere, The Netherlands
  • De Vechtdijk, The Netherlands


Follow this link to see the first GeoBeads data Boston UK


The sites already monitored by UrbanFlood are:

  • Eemshaven, The Netherlands
  • Boston United Kingdom
  • Stammerdijk Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Vechtdijk Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Dike next to Zeelandbrug, The Netherlands
  • Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


Practice research ‘Dijken op Veen’ (peat dikes) starts soon

4 July 2011


Soon the practical test and study ‘Dijken op Veen’ (peat dikes) will start, a collaboration between the Hoogheemraadschap (water board) Hollandsch Noorderkwartier and Rijkswaterstaat (Ministry of Infrastucture and the Environment).

With this research, we can increase our knowledge about the strength of embankments on peat.

2nd UrbanFlood Workshop

15 June 2011


The workshop we have held in November 2010 has attracted many companies. Together with a Czech SMW we now have developed a Eureka project, and with a large Dutch company we develop an ESA project. In November 2011 we will organize our second International Workshop. We really would like to encourage all companies and institutes working in this field to come and discuss cooperation.


“Intelligent dike monitoring for the 21st century - Experience in Embankment Monitoring”: the theme for the 2nd UrbanFlood International Workshop -November 3, 2011 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. ... more

Sites around the world monitored by UrbanFlood

June 2011


More and more sites are online and monitored by UrbanFlood, the network is now worldwide with the inclusion of a UK and an Australian site.


The sites monitored by UrbanFlood are:

  • Eemshaven, The Netherlands
  • Boston United Kingdom
  • Stammerdijk Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Vechtdijk Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Dike next to Zeelandbrug, The Netherlands
  • Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

UrbanFlood on BBC World News

28 May 2011


Rising sea levels mean more and more of the world is at risk of flooding. In this episode of BBC World News - Horizons we look at the next generation of flood defences and how Dutch expertise and technology can help other areas around the world.


Follow this link select series 1 episode 4 Part 1- 2011, to see how UrbanFlood can contribute.


Saint Petersburg Consortium Meeting

28 May 2011

The UrbanFlood Consortium has held its twice yearly Consortium Meeting in the hometown of our Russian partner OOO Siemens, Saint Petersburg, on May 25-27. A lot of work could be done and progress at the halfway mark of the project is very good, concluded Prof. Dr. Robert Meijer, the Scientific Coordinator. Of course a visit to the Saint Petersburg Flood Barrier was on the programme, and after work the participants used the opportunity to make very interesting visits to the cultural treasures of this former capital of Russia, and to participate in the city anniversary celebrations. The famous ‘white nights’ ensured that there was plenty of daylight time for both work and pleasure! The UrbanFlood partners offer their sincere thanks for the perfect organisation by partner Siemens.

Saint Petersburg Dam, source: Ilya Mokhov           

Non-flood Early Warning Systems

28 May 2011


Project coordinator Robert Meijer: “The UrbanFlood system is really a general purpose facility to create and manage monitor and control systems. We have stated before that UrbanFlood tests the system for the case of flooding caused by dike or flood barrier failure. I have stimulated co-workers to use it for other purposes. One colleague uses the UrbanFlood technology for anomaly detection in his smart home; another is using an EWS to monitor sensors attached to an huge bridge in the Netherlands. However, flood safety applications tend to have the most interest.



The Siemens-System warnt vor Hochwasser

12 May 2011


An internet article about UrbanFlood on Silicon-Technology Hardware. Follow this link (German)


New Test Site in Boston (UK)

20 April 2011


The UrbanFlood project selected Boston (UK) as one of the pilot sites for an Early Warning System framework that can be used to link sensors via the Internet to predictive models and emergency warning systems.

Boston UK, source: E. Peters  

Boston (UK) is a town with a long history of floods located on the east coast of England. More than 50% of homes (i.e. more than 15,000 homes) are at significant risk of flooding from a combination of high tide and storm surge in the North Sea. The main area of the town is a little inland from the coast but is affected by tidal rivers in which the spring tide range is about 6m. 


For this project a simple embankment was selected at a location with a history of instability on the riverward face. The instrumentation was selected on the basis of previous experimentation and comparison of instruments installed in full scale dike failure tests in the Netherlands (IJkDijk). On April 12 Dutch developed MEMS modules (GeoBeads) were successfully installed; by mid-May all remaining equipment will be installed, (a): additional geobeads; (b): TenCate fibre optic cable and (c): two types of US-Canada developed Shape Acceleration Arrays (SAA).


Geobeads are able to detect local tilt, pore pressure and temperature, the latter as a proxy method for detecting water flow. The SAA are able to measure three-directional soil deformation and one type also detects pore pressure. The TenCate Sensor enabled-geotextile strips are based on fibre optic sensing technology and are able to detect soil strain by distributed light back-scattering. These were installed along the entire 300m in the crest and front slope of the embankment. This technology allows (much) longer stretches of embankment to be monitored at low cost.

The gathered data is being used to detect anomalies, supported by an Artificial Intelligence system. If an anomaly is detected, this then triggers assessment of the likelihood of levee breach. If breach is likely, the consequences in terms of flood propagation and damage in the defended urban area are assessed via high speed computer modelling. Results will be displayed on the project website. There are also plans to set up a visitor centre in the town where this information is made available and is linked to future plans for improvement of the levees in Boston.

Nomination Water Innovation Award 2011

11 April 2011


The pilot study of the use of Geobeads (or rather sensors) at the Stammerdijk in The Netherlands was nominated for the AGV Water innovation award 2011! UrbanFlood is a partner in the project ‘Innovative sensors’ of Waternet.


It is great that we had a chance in the topic water safety. The announcement of the winner was on Wednesday 27 April, location ‘De Rode Hoed’ in Amsterdam.


Source: Rob van Putten, Senior Advisor Geotechnics at Waternet, The Netherlands. Follow this link (Dutch) for more information.

UrbanFlood on Horizons - BBC World News Channel

7 April 2011


The BBC filmed the FP7-project UrbanFlood at two locations in the Dutch province Zeeland. The experience was fascinating and will look very strong on film, according to the director. It takes a while to edit all the footage to make a twenty two minute piece; the first showing on BBC World News channel will be on 3rd June 2011. We’ll put the link online soon after. So, be sure to watch BBC Horizons on June 3rd or come back to our website to see the documentary online.

Better flood protection thanks to the HPC Cloud

30 March 2011


Valeria Krzhizhanovskaya, Team leader modeling and simulation at University of Amsterdam (UvA) was interviewed by the SARA Supercomputing and Networking Services journalist.

The interview will be published in the annual SARA magazine, under the (draft) title "Better flood protection thanks to the HPC Cloud".

Floods in the Netherlands

25 January 2011


Because of rain and melting snow in the Alps and the Ardennes the rivers Rhine and Maas reached very high levels, which caused only limited and controlled flooding in the Netherlands. Unlike the situation in Belgium and further abroad, where people in places as far apart as Brazil, Sri Lanka and Queensland, Australia suffered severe flooding, the situation in the Netherlands was mostly under control. The effort of the last 15 years to improve the flood safety situation along the big rivers was successful, this time.

The IJssel, source: Geert Veldstra  

The IJssel at Deventer and Zuthpen in the Netherlands. The IIssel is a branch of the river Rhine, which flooded adjacent land and reached its highest level around 16 January 2011.

International Water Week 2011 in Amsterdam

25 January 2011



Amsterdam RAI will be organising the first International Water Week in November 2011 in Amsterdam. Follow this link

Brisbane floods upclose

18 January 2011



High-resolution aerial photos taken over Brisbane last week have revealed the scale of devastation across dozens of suburbs and tens of thousands of homes and businesses.


View the ABC News special presentation showing before and after photos of the floods.

The aerial photos of the Brisbane floods were taken in flyovers on January 13 and January 14. Hover over each photo to view the devastation caused by flooding. Development: Jim Whimpey and Andrew Kesper, Executive Producer: Matthew Liddy, Source: NearMap.