Google upgrades its AI flood-forecasting technology to help more people


Flood forecasting Google demo

A demo of Google’s flood-forecasting technology shown at a Google AI event in November. 

Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

We’ve seen artificial intelligence (AI) do everything from write an essay to develop an entire business — but did you know that it can help mitigate the dangers of natural disasters, too?

Last November, Google released its AI-enabled flood-forecasting platform, FloodHub, to 20 countries around the globe. 

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This platform takes Google’s AI flood-tracking technology and uses the data to display where and when floods might occur on an interactive world map.

Google FloodHub

Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

Google has now expanded FloodHub to 80 countries worldwide, adding 60 new countries across Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, and South and Central America.

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The newly included regions include areas with the highest percentages of people exposed to flood risk, such as the Netherlands, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. 

Another important upgrade is that FloodHub will be able to provide forecasting up to seven days in advance, which is a big increase from 48 hours last year. 

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The platform will be able to provide forecasting to 460 million people around the globe, according to Google. 

Within the next year, Google plans to expand flood forecasting alerts in Search and Maps to deliver critical information to its users in their times of need. 

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