ODI Leeds

Bradford flood network

After the 2015 Boxing Day floods, we hosted a flood hack event to pool knowledge, share ideas, and build solutions to flooding. Out of that event came the idea of building an open and free network that will allow us to monitor river levels in the region.

Over the past couple of months we've been working with Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council and Bradford University to build a flood sensor network in Bradford. The aim is to install five water-level monitoring sensors on Bradford Beck and the River Aire. These sensors will be able to broadcast their readings, via radio waves, to an Internet-of-Things network we are building in the city. The network will, initially, consist of three external LoRaWAN gateways which will be mounted at high sites around Bradford. We have purchased the gateways and two have been installed this week.

Over the next few weeks we aim to install the five water-level sensors at points we identified in meetings late last year. Once they come online they will send regular readings to both the The Things Network and the Flood Network based in Oxford. Those sites will provide the live river levels but we will also create a data pipeline to make sure we keep a long-term archive on Data Mill North that everyone will have access to.

Our first flood sensor installed over Bradford Beck © Sydney Simpson

The network we are building is open so anyone can add their own LoRa-enabled sensors. The first five flood sensors are just the start. Community groups or individuals will be able to build or buy their own low-cost battery-powered sensors to monitor the streams or tributaries that affect them and use our open network to send the measurements home.

Want to get involved? You can join our LoRa community hub for Bradford and Leeds.

We'll be at a launch event at the Digital Health Exchange on Thursday 23 February.