April 17, 2024

FloodVISION-AI Network of Web Cameras with Artificial Intelligence Monitor Water Levels, Support Flood Resiliency

Virginia Beach is recognized with two awards for effectively leveraging technology and innovation to meet the needs of the community.

Water Level Sensors at Pinewood and 32nd St

Pictured: FloodVISION-AI web cameras located at Pinewood Road and 32nd Street in the Resort Area.

Virginia Beach has been awarded as a forward-thinking municipality that leverages technology and innovation to offer sustainable new services and economic opportunities for the community. 

The City was named a winner in the IDC Government Insights’ Smart Cities North America Award (SCNAA) in the Smart Water category for its FloodVISION-AI (Flood Visual Inference of Stage Identification by Observation Networks - Artificial Intelligence) technology.

This technology aids Virginia Beach’s flood resiliency initiatives by using a system of web cameras to interpret water levels in real time using recorded images. These cameras are located at critical locations to complement existing sensors feeding into StormSense, a network of coastal water-level sensors.

The StormSense water-level monitoring network allows several City departments, including Public Works, Public Utilities and Emergency Management, to make informed decisions throughout the city. These decisions help to mitigate flooding in neighborhoods, and near major reservoirs. They help officials determine whether to close roads to minimize transportation hazards during seasonal flooding events, such as tropical storms and hurricanes. The real-time data collected by StormSense and the observations from these new web camera sensors are relayed to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) to inform its Tidewatch Charts and 36-hour forecasting tools.

Additionally, FloodVISION-AI also was honored with a 2024 Smart 20 Award by Smart Cities Connect. The Smart 20 Awards annually recognize global smart cities projects, honoring the most innovative and influential work.

FloodVISION-AI was previously recognized with a Commonwealth of Virginia Innovative Technology Symposium (COVITS) award in 2023.

What are the Benefits of FloodVISION-AI?

Virginia Beach played a key role in establishing StormSense to observe water levels in real time. Since 2017, StormSense added 50 sensors in addition to the 10 United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) tide gauges installed in 2016 in Virginia Beach. These sensors are spread throughout the city, located on bodies of water specified by Public Works as vulnerable areas for flooding.

The solar-powered sensors communicate via cellular broadband connections to monitor flooding around the clock and record water levels every six minutes to help track the probability of roadway flooding. StormSense won the IDC award in the Smart Water category in 2018.

FloodVISION-AI uses 4K-resolution web cameras with infrared night-vision capabilities that were deployed in the city in 2022. They are currently located alongside USGS tide gauges, which helps validate the Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning model. The FloodVISION-AI solution enhances federal flood monitoring efforts with visual confirmation of flooding conditions, helping to translate the visual flood depths to near real-time water level measurements to feed into the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS). The web camera sensors reduce operational costs for the city’s sensors in addition to complementing the current nationwide network maintained by the USGS.

Water Level Sensors

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