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Open Data vs. the Flood: How High-Tech Is Helping Venice Deal With High Tides


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A canal in Venice, Italy.

A new project is aiming to engage citizens of Venice to help monitor flooding in the city's canals.

Credit: ZDnet

The Acqualta project in Venice, run by #opendatavenezia, aims to engage citizens in an effort to monitor flooding in the city's canals using open data and sensor technology.

"We want to test the potential of citizens as sensors, engaging residents in the production of data," says #opendatavenezia member Luca Corsato. "It's a bottom-up approach in which data is a shared resource, as opposed to the traditional idea of information being owned and distributed by a central authority."

Acqualta participants must own a water gate in the Venetian lagoon, where they install a small, solar-powered sensor that wirelessly transmits the water level to a dedicated server. The data is then posted on Twitter, with tweets sent every few minutes during high tide and every half hour at other times. The sensors can help local authorities pinpoint locations where water is likely to overflow, says Eraclit's Oreste Venier, whose company developed the device.

Although Venice is not directly involved in Acqualta, council members have strong ties to #opendatavenezia and hope the project will help the government reduce tide measuring costs and focus resources on flood prediction.

From ZDNet
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