Industrial IoT Applications for Monitoring Floods and Water Levels

You have a rugged water monitoring system when you combine rapidly deployable, cost-effective Industrial Internet of Things sensors with water resources management. This helps you, your teams, and your organization save time, lives, and money.

Industrial IoT sensor systems provide early warnings for natural disasters and events that bring risks to you and your family. What specific environmental factors are monitored with today’s flooding systems installed in the field? Flood warning systems are deployed on the coast of the U.S. to monitor things like:
• Water levels
• Rising tides
• Storm surge

You’ll need the flexibility of deploying water monitoring systems anywhere you need them. Where do Smart Cities typically place water monitoring systems?

Smart Cities mount and install flood warning systems anywhere they’re needed, like:
• Beaches
• Rivers
• Levees
• Bridges
• Wells
• Coastlines
• Marinas
• Lakes

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How do flood monitoring systems work? Let’s talk about critical components you’ll need for each flood monitoring system. Depending your deployment environment, your needs may vary, which is why it’s important you choose a platform that will work with you and grow with your needs. At a minimum level, you’ll likely need at least the following:
• Your Water Bodies You Need to Monitor (e.g., ocean coast, river, lake)
• Power supply (solar panel or standard mains electricity like 110V)
• Ultrasonic, radar, transducer, or other level sensors like those made by Flowline and Senix.
• Sensor hub with adapters for sending water measurements to Tools.Valarm.net via mobile cell network (like AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon in the states), Ethernet, or WiFi

As your organization may already know, it’s crucial that you work with folks who know the whole chain, from getting your boots dirty in the field, all the way up to the cloud, onto your desktops and mobile devices for warnings and analytics. Just having software or hardware isn’t enough. You probably already realize that successful Industrial IoT applications require expertise of all of the components involved.

There are various water level sensor technologies you can use. You’ve got options like mentioned above:
• Ultrasonic
• Transducers
• Radar

Each of these types of sensors has its advantages and disadvantages. When it comes to price, transducers may cost the least, but since they need to be deployed at the bottom of the water body, this creates a challenge for deeper and harder to reach bodies of water. Radar sensors can be priced significantly higher, yet can also be more accurate since radar is able to penetrate things like sea foam in order to give you a better measurement of the current levels of your liquids.

Ultrasonic level sensors can be a happy medium, where you’ve got a non-contact sensor that can be mounted above your water body, like on a bridge over a river or on the coast or a marine dock, and they’re typically less expensive than radar level sensors. Some communities in the states tend to go with a mixed approach with some sensors of different types, technologies, and hardware manufacturers. Depending on your specific deployment environment, you’ll need to work with experts that have been there, done that, and can recommend the most best, most effective remote water monitoring systems for your particular scenario.

Now once your water sensor information is in the cloud, what do you do? Industrial IoT cloud platforms gives you real-time access to your remote monitoring systems. When working with critical geographical phenomena like water and flooding, integration with maps is quite helpful for quickly gaining situational awareness.

As many folks who fans of Geographic Information Systems and Science (GIS) like to say, “Spatial is Special”. In the case of flood and water monitoring systems where you’ve deployed multiple Industrial IoT sensor units around your area, you’ll gain valuable knowledge by analyzing spatial relationships, correlations, and how each zone is affecting other zones. Your spatial analytics help with future prediction and can help you identify exactly where the optimal locations are for deploying your remote monitoring systems. You probably understand and realize additional opportunities you have by combining Industrial IoT with GIS to give you real-time analytics integrating past, present, and future water, as well as other environmental information.

Beyond mapping, a historizer with all previous sensor readings gives you insights into what happened in the past that’s leading to the present, and what may have crucial effects in the future. These predictive analytics allow you to apply intelligence for things like evacuations in the case of flood warning systems. And you and your teams can utilize this information to identify patterns and enhance future community safety and preparedness for environmental hazards.

Want to learn more about IoT and water? This article has an overview of how IoT helps in water management. Some of these advantages tie in well here with flood monitoring systems, like:
• Predictive analytics
• Data collection
• Safety

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