The Queensland State Government have a vision that all flood prone citizens should have access to real time flood warning information. The Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM), supported by Royal HaskoningDHV and HydroLogic have taken an important step towards realising this vision by developing a Smartphone Application Prototype (proof of concept) that provides end users with real-time flood warning and flood extent mapping information.

The App prototype has been developed for the Lower Burnett River Catchment which includes the community of Bundaberg. This catchment and community were chosen due to the existence of all data required for the app, in particular, Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) forecast river level data and flood mapping at a range of elevations (m AHD) which is directly related to the BoM forecast gauges.

The App is able to geo-locate the user and obtain both ‘actual’ and ‘forecast’ river level data from the nearest (to the end user) of 3 BoM gauge stations (Paradise Dam, Walla and Bundaberg). The App then retrieves and displays the relevant flood map and shows flood extent in relation to the end user’s current location and a number of saved ‘favourite location’s’, which can include the users home, business, child’s kindergarten or school, or elderly relatives home etc.

Flood warning information is provided in a range of simple visual forms to improve understanding and dissemination. Clear and concise flood warning messages, consistent with BoM messages, are also provided. The App also includes links to key flood and disaster related agency websites and information.

Development of the App proto type into a full version is planned for 2015, subject to a range of further considerations.