MIT map offers real-time, crowd-sourced flood reporting during Hurricane Irma (MIT News)

Spreading the word about this valuable flood-response resource:

As Hurricane Irma bears down on the U.S., the MIT Urban Risk Lab has launched a free, open-source platform that will help residents and government officials track flooding in Broward County, Florida. The platform,, is being piloted to enable both residents and emergency managers to obtain better information on flooding conditions in near-real time.

Residents affected by flooding can add information to the publicly available map via popular social media channels. Using Twitter, Facebook, and Telegram, users submit reports by sending a direct message to the Risk Map chatbot. The chatbot replies to users with a one-time link through which they can upload information including location, flood depth, a photo, and description.

Residents and government officials can view the map to see recent flood reports to understand changing flood conditions across the county. Tomas Holderness, a research scientist in the MIT Department of Architecture, led the design of the system. “This project shows the importance that citizen data has to play in emergencies,” he says. “By connecting residents and emergency managers via social messaging, our map helps keep people informed and improve response times.”


Image from MIT Urban Risk Lab: Using from the MIT Urban Risk Lab, residents of Broward County, Florida, can use social media to upload flood reports that are aggregated into a publicly available map that tracks flooding during Hurricane Irma.



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Rick Shankman's picture

Curt, "RiskMap" is the name

Curt, "RiskMap" is the name of a longstanding FEMA product...

Admittedly, the FEMA product is not very user friendly, but without coordination with FEMA and Florida county EM/EOCs, this tool will be useless.

Try this tool (in beta test)... Common Sense 2.0

Once it's safe to survey the area, the local news will be covering the flooding situation extensively.