Home Emergency Management News Flooding? Yep, There's an App For That

Flooding? Yep, There's an App For That


USGS App provides critical current water information

Don't look now, but with the help of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), smart phones are actually being used for something intelligent.

The bad jokes about smart phones only being used to watch cat videos and capture photos of dimly-lit plates of food to be shared on the latest popular social media may soon disappear, as developers and scientists are starting to develop truly smart apps that can be highly useful in disaster and emergency situations.

Recently, when the state of Texas was battling through some dangerous floods, the USGS launched a new smart phone tool that offered up an incredibly helpful suite of information to help state residents -- real-time forecasts and alerts about water levels. The technology is versatile, too, as it can accessed on a desktop computer, smartphone and other mobile devices.

The USGS Texas Water Dashboard

The true value of the app, known as the USGS Texas Water Dashboard is its ability to provide comprehensive weather and climate data all in one place. It brings together a wealth of weather- and flood-related data all within the app. Some example of data included in the mashup: real-time lake and reservoir data, current precipitation amounts, historical precipitation totals, groundwater levels, radar, weather forecasts, and drought conditions. The USGS pulls data from more than 750 real-time observation stations in Texas, and from multiple outside sources like the National Weather Service (NWS).

"The Texas Water Dashboard provides a user-friendly 'one-stop' picture that is of extreme use to water resource managers, with the simplicity to be used by the general public." -- Mark Null, National Weather Service

Possible expansion outside of Texas

A tool like this obviously could be useful outside of the state of Texas. The USGS said that it could possibly expand the reach of the product (or a similar product) to include the rest of the nation if it is determined that this technology provided good value to Texas residents.

Matt Mills Matt Mills has been involved in various aspects of online media, both on the editorial side and on the technology side, for more than 16 years. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and is currently involved in multiple projects focused on innovation journalism.