What is the problem?

Natural disasters kill an estimated 90,000 people and affect close to 160 million people worldwide every year, according to the World Health Organization. Severe weather events in particular have increased in frequency and intensity over the past decade, and scientists believe climate change is a significant factor. In the last 20 years, flooding has been the most common disaster by far, accounting for 43% of all recorded events. Read the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction to see how we make our communities safer and more resilient to disasters.

How can technology help?

Technology can help our society better prepare for and respond to natural disasters. Specific use cases include reducing exposure to hazards, lessening vulnerability of people and property, wise management of land and the environment, and improving preparedness and early warning for adverse weather events that are gaining in frequency through climate change.

Get started coding with this tutorial

 Estimated time: 20 minutes

Learning objectives

The starter kit, composed of a React Native front end and Node.js back end, integrates with Watson Assistant and HERE Location Services. It gives developers a template to quickly get started building a solution.


The idea

Due to climate change, floods are becoming more frequent and more severe, leading to widespread issues for affected communities. The goal of this application is to provide an end-to-end solution to help potential victims combat floods. The team approached the problem by breaking it down into three phases: before the flood, during the flood, and after the flood. By combining IBM’s Data & AI offerings with HERE Technologies’ Location Services, a developer can quickly get started building this solution. The starter kit offers a React Native template that has integration with Watson Assistant and HERE Technologies’ Location Services pre-built, helping developers jump-start the development process.

Innovation team members

Steve Coochin,

Joshua Zheng,

Daniel Krook,

Scott Sewell,

Jochen Bertels,
Johnson & Johnson

The architecture

This solution starter idea combines machine learning models with real-time information to get users the information they need to take action quickly.

  1. The user launches the mobile app and can access information across multiple services.
  2. The user can ask questions to Watson Assistant and get answers to flood planning and recovery-related questions.
  3. The user can access recommendations on flood preparation checklists and best practices with Watson Machine Learning.
  4. The user receives real-time weather updates from The Weather Company.
  5. The user can obtain geolocation data for safety points and plot evacuation routes using HERE Location Services.