IoT technology powers an interactive flood map and sensor network

8th December 2015

Nominet, in association with the Flood Network, is today launching an interactive, online map which visualises river and stream levels around Oxford. The map, showing how technology can be a part of flood defence systems anywhere, has been developed following a successful pilot project with the Oxford Flood Network. The project has been focused on exploring the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) to create an extensive, localised, early-warning system for flood-prone areas for the first time in the UK.

The Flood Network is powered by two pieces of innovative technology developed by Nominet:

  • A set of IoT tools to help innovators build and scale IoT applications in real environments. The tools utilise existing internet standards, such as DNS, to provide proven scalable solutions with an existing support eco-system.

The map, an application built on top of the tools, is being released as a beta version today to gather feedback from local residents and encourage further community engagement. Over 30 IoT devices have been deployed to date, including sensors to monitor water levels in the streams, groundwater and basin of the Thames and Cherwell rivers, and more sensors are being added over time. The map also consumes data from the Environment Agency’s sensors mounted at locks in the nearby area to provide as comprehensive a picture as possible.

Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet said, “As we have demonstrated with the Flood Network, the Internet of Things goes well beyond the home into a multitude of real-world, practical applications that can support infrastructure and environmental monitoring. If this can work in Oxford, it can work anywhere, and recent events have underlined the importance of effective monitoring systems when flood waters begin to rise.”

Adam Leach, Director of R&D, Nominet commented on the development, “The Flood Network demonstrates an important use of IoT in a real smart city environment. This project has allowed us to develop cutting-edge tools based on hands-on experience gained in the field. We are now applying this to new and exciting IoT applications, along with our expertise of running a key part of the internet infrastructure, to take our technology a step further.”

Ben Ward, Director of Flood Network added: “This map will show the water situation at street level and help people to make better decisions as when a flood occurs, we can complement existing models with live observations on the ground. We’ve been working with great volunteers across the city to make the Flood Network happen, and we’re keen to get more on board to get an even clearer picture of Oxford’s water situation. As the network grows and connects more places, it gathers data which can be fed back to the authorities to improve flood models, leading to better defences and emergency responses.”

The Oxford Flood Network map can be viewed here: and and anyone interested in implementing a Flood Network in their area can get in touch with [email protected].

Nominet is part of the Smart Oxford Project Board which is scoping out and developing smart city approaches, and exploring how technology can help solve some of city’s own unique challenges from congestion to connectivity.


About the Flood Network

The Flood Network is run by Director Ben Ward, a veteran of the UK Internet industry and a relentless innovator. He’s often found speaking at industry conferences and recruiting volunteers to help improve the Flood Network’s technology. As a resident of Oxford and active member of the local technical community he wants to see Oxford thrive and develop a talent hub. Contact Ben at [email protected]