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About UrbanFlood


Introduction UrbanFlood


UrbanFlood is a European funded project* investigating the use of sensors within flood embankments to support an online early warning system, real time emergency management and routine asset management.

Application of the concepts to support routine asset management, which includes the regular inspection of dikes, will also be considered. Safer dikes are not only stronger but also smarter dikes.

Early Warning System Framework for European Cities

More than two thirds of European cities have to deal with flood risk management issues on a regular basis; these are issues which will worsen as climate change effects result in more extreme conditions. Early Warning Systems (EWS) can play a crucial role in mitigating flood risk by detecting conditions and predicting the onset of a catastrophe before the event occurs, and by providing real time information during an event. EWSs thus fulfil multiple roles as general information systems, decision support systems and alarm systems for multiple stakeholders including government, companies and the general public.

The UrbanFlood approach


The UrbanFlood project will create an EWS framework that can be used to link sensors via the Internet to predictive models and emergency warning systems.  The data collected from the sensors will be interpreted to assess the condition and likelihood of failure; different models will be used to predict the failure mode and subsequent potential inundation in near real time. Through the Internet, additional computer resources required by the framework are made available on demand.

UrbanFlood will validate the EWS framework and method for implementation in the context of dike performance (failure) in an urban environment.  A number of live pilot sites will be used to prove the methodology. Dikes will be equipped with sensor systems and the EWS service built up from a series of dike failure and flooding specific modules which include dike breach evolution and flood-spreading models. UrbanFlood will investigate and show the feasibility to remotely monitor dikes and floods, whether from nearby offices or from other countries and continents through secure use of web based technologies.


For the development of flood mitigation scenarios and the training of personnel, the framework will also connect to a simulator that computes flood responses associated with failing dikes. UrbanFlood will make use of data from the induced failure of real dikes at the IJkdijk field laboratory to test and validate the overall EWS framework and individual modules.


The UrbanFlood Project


UrbanFlood is a project funded under the EU 7th framework Programme* which started in December 2009 and will run for 3 years. Partners of UrbanFlood include TNO Information and Communication Technology, the University of Amsterdam and STOWA (Dutch acronym for the Foundation for Applied Water Research) from the Netherlands; HR Wallingford in the UK, ACC Cyfronet AGH in Poland and OOO Siemens in Russia.



1.       How can professional organisations connect sensor infrastructures to an Internet-based Early Warning Systems (EWS), work with that EWS, and integrate this with existing EWS, with decision support, visualisation and public information systems?

2.       How do we monitor thousands of sensor streams?

3.       How do we create a common information space that allows easy integration, over the Internet with other EWSs, sensors and application programs for public information, decision support?

4.       How do we effectively host and manage multiple early warning systems? How can shared, Internet-based facilities for EWS adapt to a sudden demand of computational resources? Can we beneficially use cloud computing resources to introduce new EWS and keep investment in hardware low?

5.       How can we create an Internet-based EWS that monitors dikes and integrates that with simulations to measure dike strength and failure, and flood models, as well as with legacy EWS?

6.       Is it feasible to monitor dikes on a European scale, from multiple locations?

Demonstration Video UrbanFlood

Demonstration Video of the UrbanFlood Early Warning System with features of the Multi-Touch table interface developed in this EU funded UrbanFlood project. See the video.

Download the UrbanFlood Flyer

UrbanFlood flyer English
UrbanFlood flyer Dutch

UrbanFlood brochure English

UrbanFlood Modelling Simulation Decision Support poster 11 November 2010

UrbanFlood Presentation given by Robert Meijer during a workshop on 'Monitoring and Control for Full Water-Cycle Management' in Brussels on 18 June 2010.

Download UrbanFlood Presentation