The Royale Chulan Hotel provided a great location for the conference, exhibition hall and meeting sessions.
Ambiental attended the Asian Space Technology Summit to showcase an innovative flood forecasting system developed for EASOS. This auspicious conference held in Kuala Lumpur on the 11th-12th of May 2017 brought together space technology sector experts from Malaysia and throughout the world.
Ambiental is working in Malaysia to analyse flood risk and implement a flood forecasting system as a part of Earth & Sea Observation Systems(EASOS); a consortium of UK and Malaysian enterprises and academic organisations lead by Satellite Applications Catapult. The EASOS consortium is focused on addressing major environmental challenges that are costing the Malaysian government billions of dollars annually.
EASOS is delivering an Environmental Protection Civil Defence Platform for use by government workers responsible for planning, monitoring and response activities. Through using satellite data and satellite-enabled technology, the programme will deliver, trial and evaluate solutions for flood risk, marine pollution and illegal logging.
The EASOS platform is designed to provide high value decision support for tackling country-specific environmental, security and human challenges. It involves the intelligent fusion of terrestrial and satellite data sources. This enables sophisated modelling and analysis, delivered through an integrated hardware and software platform. The project goal is to provide a fully integrated and easy to use online system which enables consistent information sharing across multiple government agencies.
Ambiental’s Chief Executive Officer Justin Butler demonstrates the flood forecasting capabilities of EASOS to a senior official from NADMA, Malaysia’s National Disaster Management Agency.
Forecasting floods through leveraging space technologies
Ambiental is leading the flooding domain of the EASOS programme which is assisting Malaysian authorities through improved flood risks awareness. Ambiental will deliver an alerting framework, underpinned through a coupled hydraulic-hydrological model. The solution offers improved advanced warning, increased time to develop targeted responses, better information on impacted areas, and insight as to whether a situation is improving or worsening.
Flooding is the most devastating natural disaster experienced by the Malaysian population. In 2014, the worst monsoon rains in three decades hit the East Coast causing major flooding, resulting in 21 deaths and 250,000 displaced people. The total economic loss was considerable and recovery efforts cost RM1 billion ($280 million). Beyond direct damage flooding has serious effects on agriculture and infrastructure, disrupting a wide range of economic activities.
The EASOS Flood Watch system incorporates satellite derived datasets to monitor real time and forecasted rainfall. The system consumes these inputs along with telemetry data and catchment state conditions and initiates Flowroute-i™ forecasting model simulation runs. The resultant depth and extent floodmaps which are produced are then analysed to calculate flood risk. The Ambiental system’s flood predictions then generate dashboard alerts which can trigger response teams to invoke disaster plans.
Paul Drury, Product Manager at Ambiental manning the EASOS Flooding exhibition stand.
An integrated dashboard system for flood forecasting and alerting
Ambiental flew a delegation of senior staff to Kuala Lumpur to attend the Summit, including the company’s Chief Executive Officer Justin Butler, and Product Manager Paul Drury. They had the opportunity to meet many attendees from the Malaysian government as well as many leading professionals in the digital technology and space industries within Asia and beyond. The Ambiental team were on hand to provide interactive demonstrations of the prototype Flood Watch system.
Improved forecast accuracy and timeliness can lead to reduced impact on the Malaysian people through saving lives, reducing property damage and limiting long-term recovery cost. From an economic and environmental perspective, it is estimated that EASOS will enable a 10% reduction in the annual cost of flood events to the Malaysian government, the equivalent of RM400 million (US$91.2 million). Estimates of increased economic growth with long-term monetary benefits total up to US$127 million annually.
By providing decision-makers with the right information in a single dashboard, EASOS assists in planning, prevention and post-event response strategies, enabling long-term sustainable benefits. Using EASOS governments will have the ability to address major national issues through a single platform, rather than investing in a different system for every issue. The EASOS architecture allows fast and flexible development of satellite-based tools and application tailored to each new specific issue. This short video provides an overview of the EASOS mission.
Delegates attend a panel session featuring Malaysian dignitaries, including the deputy minister of Science, Technology and Innovation.
A world leading consortium of domain experts
Currently EASOS is tackling the three challenges of flooding, marine pollution and Illegal logging. In the future EASOS could support the monitoring of many other activities, including air quality, illegal fishing and precision agriculture. There are already plans to understand how EASOS can help to predict drought and recommend water-balancing activities, maximise yield and health in crops and optimum sites in Malaysia to position wind and solar power generation farms.
During the visit to Malaysia Ambiental staff took the opportunity to hold further meetings with the various EASOS project partners and discuss progress with multiple government department representatives. The EASOS Program Director Mark Hampson also took part in a live national television interview which answered many questions of interest to the people of Malaysia, including extensive discussion of flooding.
The EASOS project is part funded through the UK Space Agency’s International Partnerships Programme; a £152m multi-year programme designed to use space knowledge, expertise and capability to provide sustainable, economic or societal benefits to undeveloped nations and developing economies. UK Space Agency grants are awarded to successful industrial and academic partners to run projects addressing real-world problems.
Ambiental would like to thank everybody who visited our exhibition stand at the Summit. There was substantial positive engagement amongst delegates, and fantastic suggestions for the future development of EASOS as a decision support platform. We would also like to thank our other EASOS consortium members: Satelite Applications Catapult, Janus TCD, Astrosat, Geocento, Plymouth Marine Laboratories, AutoNaut, Riskaware, Telespazio VEGA, Earth Observation Inc, Leicester University, Sterling Geo, Oxford University and eOsphere. It was encouraging to see all stakeholders committed to the success of this innovative and ambitious project.
Our website contains more information on Ambiental’s work in Malaysia. You can also learn more about our FloodMaps for APAC and Malaysia here. You can also follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for up-to-date flood news, as well as joining us on LinkedIn.
About the Author
Paul Drury is the GIS Data Manager at Ambiental. His role includes project management of production operations and reporting back to stakeholders. He also oversees the preparation, integration and quality assurance checking of data assets. Paul is an expert in GIS and data analysis with a developed understanding of the environmental data industry and underlying technical concepts. He has a BSc (hons) in Environmental Sciences from the University of Brighton.