FloodCube is a modelling tool for stormwater management that prevents flooding caused by heavy rainfall. “Urban flooding is the natural hazard that causes the greatest economic impact on society, and it will only get worse. Climate change has been tearing cities apart, and it doesn’t have to be that way. By utilising high-precision planning tools like the FloodCube we can reduce flood damage by up to 90 per cent,” says Jonas Aas Torland, co-founder and CCO of 7Analytics.
By 2050, cities worldwide will have 2.5 billion new residents. While city life offers many benefits, urban growth has an environmental downside.
Large-scale urbanisation increases impermeable surfaces that prevent rainwater from soaking into the ground. Without proper urban planning, the result is destructive flooding from heavy rainfall. On top of this, severe weather from climate change is exacerbating the problem.
The US alone has reported USD 240 billion in flood damage in the past 30 years. News reports recently captured the devastating flooding throughout central Europe, and this same phenomenon is occurring around the globe.
The FloodCube shows where surface water is flowing today and where it will flow in the future. The modelling tool is built on one of the world’s largest datasets: the earth’s topography. In addition, FloodCube engineers have developed their own advanced algorithms. These are combined with data on climate, infrastructure and land use to provide the world’s most accurate water runoff predictions. “Our accuracy is so high because we get the best data to feed the model. We are also constantly updating the data and integrating terrain changes, such as new housing developments. This has never been done before. If your terrain data is outdated, the entire model will be wrong. We have solved this problem,” says Torland.
As a disruptive technology, the FloodCube combines machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) with automation. While current solutions require multiple software programs and some manual calculations, the FloodCube performs all tasks in a total package that accelerates surface water analysis by 50 per cent.
“Our solution allows planners to take water runoff into account at the start of their projects when it will have the greatest impact. Then they can share this information with the other parties involved. Collaboration is an important part of our concept,” says Torland.
The FloodCube’s affordable price and ease of use make it appealing to professionals with different levels of modelling knowledge. Users need not be experts in the software, nor do they need to hire consultants, to make full use of the FloodCube’s capabilities.
The FloodCube reduces the damage to housing and infrastructure, while saving humans from injury, death and financial loss. “Flooding causes the greatest economic harm to society, making it the costliest type of natural disaster,” says Torland. Thanks to the FloodCube, millions of dollars in losses can be minimised or avoided altogether.
The FloodCube also prevents direct and indirect harm to the environment. By mapping safe flood routes, the modelling tool can prevent landslides and keep contaminated water from flowing into areas of high value for biodiversity.
Moreover, the FloodCube can minimise carbon emissions from construction. “Fewer buildings will need to be rebuilt or repaired, which is very demanding on the climate,” explains Torland.
The FloodCube solves a serious worldwide problem, which means the market naturally spans all regions of the globe. Most countries are seeing increased flooding, and flood challenges are high on the public agenda, especially in Europe and Asia. Potential customers of FloodCube range from urban planners and building developers to engineers, architects and government specialists.
FloodCube is currently in use in Norway with proven results, and has been nominated for the Norwegian Construction Industry’s Innovation Award. FloodCube is now expanding into the US and Brazilian markets through collaboration with StormGeo and Climatempo, respectively.
“A solution like ours is needed in every country throughout the world – because heavy rainfall and urban flooding affect us all,” says Torland.
6. Clean water and sanitation
The FloodCube prevents urban flooding that can contaminate human water sources.
11. Sustainable cities and communities
The FloodCube increases urban sustainability by making cities more resilient to heavy rainfall.
13. Climate action
The FloodCube can play a pivotal role in measures to adapt to severe weather events caused by climate change and to foster climate resilience.