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Previsico to increase accuracy of flood predictions

NEWS: Previsico to work with University of Leicester on major flood forecasting project

Collaboration with University of Leicester will combine satellite data and flood models for real-time forecasts

Loughborough-based Previsico has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme to work with the University of Leicester on a major flood forecasting project. The University of Leicester will provide Previsico with flood extent information retrieved from satellite imagery. This will be combined with real-time flood models based on meteorological forecasts to enhance the accuracy and predictive capabilities of Previsico’s flood forecasting.

Previsico is based at Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park and has developed the first real-time, property-level surface water flood nowcasting technology in the world. The FloodMap Live solution, which is underpinned by more than 20 years of research by Loughborough University academics, provides real-time flood forecasts based on a predictive mapping model. This allows Previsico to accurately predict where floods will occur to protect human lives and property, allow adaptation plans to be put in place, enable emergency services to respond effectively and support the provision of insurance services.

The University of Leicester is an established centre of expertise in Earth Observation (EO) with a long tradition of exploiting satellite imagery. The SPRINT project will leverage this knowledge by selecting EO data and developing methods to provide flood evolution maps based on satellite EO datasets. This will combine both radar and optical EO datasets with operational flood models to provide a dynamic timeline of validated flooding that will enable more accurate forecasts of flooding evolution.

The project will be funded by a grant from the £4.8 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.

Avinoam Baruch, Director and Chief Operating Officer at Previsico said: “When we were looking at opportunities to resource this project and for help with incorporating satellite imagery, we talked to the University of Leicester and realised that there was a fit with the SPRINT programme.

“Collaborating with the University, through SPRINT, is a preferable route-to-market as a commercial partnership would take longer to develop and would not be as focused on the specific area of expertise that the University will bring to the project.”

Sarah Johnson, Earth Observation Lecturer in Practice at the University of Leicester added: “The University brings a lot of experience and expertise in remote sensing technologies. We can use Copernicus data and apply research expertise to work in partnership with industry organisations such as Previsico.

“By combining Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and optical data, we can help to validate Previsico’s comprehensive flood models and give extra confidence to end users.”