FloodMapp is reducing the impact of flooding by using data to improve preparation, management and recovery.

Increased flooding and the subsequent loss of human, flora and fauna life is a clear and terrible consequence of the environmental impact we've had on the planet. Floods are one of the hardest things to avoid, most difficult to stop once they get going and most destructive forces. We know they are going to get bigger and happen more often.

The best thing we can do is to prepare for them. The challenge may appear to be simply have better weather forecasting, but this misses the massively complex array of factors that decide whether rain becomes a deadly flood or just flows away.

Consider:

  • Geography - elevation, slopes, river systems, geology, soil
  • Human factors - drainage, roads, transport systems, where people live
  • Weather - amount of rain over what period, temperatures before, during and after, wind

FloodMapp's goal is to help predict, manage and learn from floods by using data.

They do this by combining existing data sources to capture the all factors and process them through a proprietary modelling system. The team have trained 35,000 catchment models, 18,000 hydrology models with machine learning and processed 38,000 river systems.

There are four main products:

  • ForeCast - predicting floods well in advance to prepare by providing notice up to ten days and 90% accuracy four days ahead of floods
  • NowCast - managing floods which are occurring live to minimise impact
  • PostCast - assessing the impacts of floods and learning from them to prevent future impacts
  • RoadSafe - focusing on route and logistical planning which gets people out of danger and help to where it needs to go

All of our products are powered by DASH, a proprietary flood model which runs continuously, simulating flood events in real-time as they occur.  DASH does use ML to enhance our complex hydrology and hydraulic modelling algorithms with a data driven approach. The platform has over 35,000 models in operation, most of which run hourly as they are updated with new real-time data rainfall, river and coastal data. More information on DASH is available on our website https://www.floodmapp.com/dash.

Customer Focus

The obvious customer of FloodMapp is governments and their agencies who have to deal with floods. This can be international groups collaborating on weather and joint projects, country and state level departments and local governments and agencies such as emergency services.

Utility and energy companies need FloodMapp due to their significant infrastructure assets and their importance in providing services pre, during and post floods.

Another big customer group is insurance companies who are massively impacted by flooding, and climate change in general. If insurance companies can no longer estimate future issues, like flooding, then they will stop providing a vital service of funding the rebuilding of assets and infrastructure.

Challenges

A challenge for FloodMapp may be one faced by many B2B companies which is the complexity of multiple stakeholders with different value propositions within each customer company.  There is no doubt that if a flood is coming that multiple people in possibly multiple departments would like to use it, but who is the central individual that owns this enough to invest ahead of time to be prepared and make it available for others to use? This may just differ for each company and may change as a company grows in their use of Floodmapp.

The other issue they face is the difficulty investing in Floodmapp for prevention (in advance) rather than in recovery (afterwards). This is emblematic of the entire climate problem and that a lot of people, a lot of the time, struggle to pay for something now for a possible future benefit. This is especially true of government who have tight budgets at the local level and can struggle to invest beyond the next election cycle. PostCast will help help here as it can jump in right after a flood and stay helping for the next one. Juliette from Floodmapp provided some excellent evidence to show that companies around the world are increasing their investment in both recovery and prevention which is great news (see below).

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Highlights

This product has some serious IP and incredible focus. It's clear that the complexities of floods, combining two fairly randomly operating elements of weather and water have been wrestled into submission with commitment and data.

There is also real network effects. Each time they collect data on the weather, a flood, an area and a customers use of the product, the value gets bigger and harder to replicate.

The value equation from FloodMapp is really well articulated and worth sharing - this is how they compare to traditional flood models:

  • 50x greater cost savings
  • 10,000x faster run time
  • 200x finer granularity

I look for 10x at least in the companies I work with and as long as the customers recognise the same value here, the FloodMapp team have a huge benefit to work with.

Report Card

  • Impact - this is an adaptation offering, which I¬†wish we didn't need but we do. It will save living creatures (non-human and human), reduce damage and help focus the attention on prevention rather than purely emergency response.
  • Team - Juliette is a strong leader with deep connection to the problem and respect for the technology. The team has a mix of software, data, GIS and hydrology.
  • Product - Four products may seem like a lot for a scaling company but there is a very strong core connection. They also have a good, focused set of integrations into complementary mapping and data platforms.
  • Market - floods are a big problem and FloodMapp solves some of the issues faced by some big potential customers. If they can get the network effects really rocking then the market size is well beyond VC¬†backable.
  • Momentum - the team have excellent growth with a number of key customers globally including QLD Fire and Emergency Services, Queensland Police Service, Queensland Reconstruction Authority, Queensland Transport and Main Roads in the government space, also the City of Norfolk, City of Virginia in the US.
  • Capital - FloodMapp has raised seed funding as well as an Australian Government grant.

Other articles about Floodmapp:

From The Founders:

Real time flood intelligence outline from FloodMapp CEO Juliette Murphy:

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Company: FloodMapp‚Äć

Summary: Flood forecasting and Real-time flood mapping

Themes: Water, Energy, Government, Business, Adaptation

Country: Australia‚Äć

Founders: Juliette Murphy, Ryan Prosser ‚Äć

Product stage: Traction‚Äć

URL: https://www.floodmapp.com/‚Äć

Capital raising:

  • Seed funding 2019 - $1.3M
  • Accelerating Commercialisation grant 2020 - ¬†$770k

Company Mission:
Our Core mission is to build a safer future. We want to see a world where no lives are lost in flood events, where people get home safely to their families and loved ones, always. In the face of a changing climate, we want to see more resilient and prepared communities.  Our vision is to become the most trusted provider of flood  impact forecasting and flood risk data across the world, enabling us to make a global impact.

Why the team wants to solve this problem:

Flooding is becoming more frequent and more severe. In Australia alone, natural disasters cost Australia $13.2B each year in economic damages. These losses are projected to triple to $39.3B by 2050, even without considering climate change. Flooding causes 67% of these damages, an astounding $8.8B per year.
In the US, Congress budgets $54 Billion annually for damages from hurricane and flood.  In South East Asia, flooding costs 12 Billion annually and has taken over 56,000 lives in the last 10 years.

The World Bank estimates that at least 35% of flood damages are preventable with better warning systems.   Preventable flood damage includes lost lives, vehicles, business and retail supply chain issues, economic losses, safety incidents, misrouting and poor logistics, business interruption and lost productivity, flooded mobile and immovable assets, and operational inefficiency.  

Much of this loss of life, safety incidents and damage are caused because individuals and businesses simply do not understand that they or their assets are at risk, or do not have timely intelligence to inform early and effective mobilisation of resources to protect people and assets and mitigate flood impacts.  This is because current flood warnings and data provided by flood warning agencies are simply too broad, too slow, and they are not integrated with the mapping tools used by individuals and businesses today.

FloodMapp was founded by professional water resources engineer Juliette Murphy and engineer and software developer Ryan Prosser, in response to experiencing flooding first-hand.  After seeing the devastation of the 2011 Queensland floods and its effect on friends and family, Juliette was motivated to improve flood preparedness and response.  In Queensland, and across the globe, lives are lost each year due to people driving through flooded roads.  In Calgary, Canada, Ryan saw the impact of the 2013 floods, and how this impacted the community. He was interested in how technology could be applied to provide situational awareness and location specific insights.

At FloodMapp, we hope to help the world adapt to a changing climate and, unfortunately, the severe flooding which is yet to come.

Supporting Data and Reports:

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Photo by Osman Rana on Unsplash‚Äć

Posted 
Aug 24, 2021
 in 
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