While Waze users already get flood warning notifications on the navigation app, it comes from a crowd-sourced system. This means you have to rely on other people to report it and flag the location on the map. Google is now working with RISE and FloodMapp that will bring a better and most likely more accurate notification system that uses a forecasting system but will also need crowd-sourced verification. This will soon launch in a pilot program in Norfolk, Virginia but may soon make its way to other locations.

Auto Evolution reports that Google is working with FloodMapp, funded by RISE Resilience Innovation, in bringing this advanced implementation of flood warnings to the app. The forecasting system that the latter developed analyzes things like tidal, riverine, and rainfall data to give an estimate of where a flood might happen and it should do it in real-time. The processed data will then be projected on the road network and Waze will generate alerts to nearby drivers.

Drivers will get visual and audio notifications warning them they are about to encounter a flooded area. Waze can suggest a re-route to the drivers in order to keep them away from danger. But of course they will need users’ interaction with these warnings. Waze will need the drivers to confirm that there is indeed flooding in the area in order to help the system understand if the technology is working as it should be.

They will be launching this feature first in Norfolk, Virginia, probably due to the fact that they have been experiencing a lot of flooding lately “due to climate change” as one city officer put it. The city has actually been working with Waze for the past five years in developing flood detection technology through crowd-sourcing as well as the presence of sensors on local roads to track flooding. This new tech by FloodMapp will bring it to another level.

If things go well with this initial test, we’ll probably see the updated flood warning system roll out in other places as well. This will add to other Waze reporting features with accidents, traffic jams, stopped vehicles, etc.