Although when talking about Google we always focus on its products and services, and especially on the most popular ones, it is true that technology also carries out multiple activities of a social nature , for which it often takes advantage of its technological potential. And they are quite remarkable initiatives, because they can make a huge difference in the lives of the people who, in one way or another, can take advantage of them.
As a general rule, when talking about actions of this type, one usually thinks of actions aimed exclusively at the disadvantaged. This is understandable, since they are the ones who need help the most and, therefore, many initiatives focus on, whether they are part of the companies’ CSR (corporate social responsibility) programs, or independently of this type of policy. However, this is not always the case, and this is one of those cases .
If you’re not familiar with it, Flood Hub is a Google service that feeds from various sources of public data, such as weather information and satellite images, and uses artificial intelligence to process them. This process is supported by two AI models, a hydrological one, which predicts the volume of water carried by rivers, and a flood model, which calculates which areas may be affected and how high the waters may rise. Thanks to this operation, Flood Hub is able to identify those areas that may be threatened by short-term flooding .
The Flood Hub information can be consulted on this website , but Google’s plans are to expand the flood forecast alerts in the search engine and in Google Maps , so that there are multiple ways through which residents in areas potentially affected can be informed early and thus have time to take the necessary measures to protect themselves. And this is a bigger problem than it may seem, since it is estimated that floods affect more than 250 million people a year worldwide.
The good news is that, as we can read on the company’s official blog in Spain, Google has expanded the scope of Flood Hub to 80 countries, with Spain among them . Therefore, if we access the service now, we will already see some markers on the map that indicate points where incidents have occurred in the past. By clicking on them, we will see information on the current situation, as well as indicators on the values from which the alarm levels are activated.
I was taking my first steps in adolescence, back in the late 80s, when I suddenly learned what it feels like when you lose “everything” (material things, that’s why I put it in quotes) in one fell swoop. Hours and more hours of torrential rains in a generally dry area (eastern Almería), caused a tongue of water, branches, mud and others, to destroy the contents of our house in a matter of seconds, and we barely saved our lives, really by the hair, because we got to wet our feet when we ran up some stairs that separated us from the disaster. I think that with this my opinion about the value of Flood Hub should be quite clear, and why I applaud this initiative from Google until my hands wear out .