Decision support tools for environmental risk management

For approaching a quarter of a century we have been providing Network Rail and other clients with a broad range of management support tools. Andrew Gubbin, Director, shares the latest developments in this suite of decision support tools.

One of our earliest projects for Network Rail involved the development of the Flood Warning Database. For those of you old enough to remember what a facsimile (fax) was, this is how information about a flood risk was issued to the Category 1 and 2 Responders under the Civil Contingencies Act, two and a half decades ago. This and other vital information is now delivered and captured through a vast array of technologies, platforms that each of us has grown to rely on.

At JBA we have kept abreast of the massive technological advancements and are proud to continue to deliver groundbreaking tools for our clients. We have developed a suite of decision support tools for Network Rail and other clients including, but not limited to the following:

Flood Foresight

JBA National-scale, real-time maps of flood inundation produced by Flood Foresight - 2015 Storm Desmond, Cumbria
JBA National-scale, real-time maps of flood inundation produced by Flood Foresight

A real-time flood forecasting application that provides up to 10-day lead times for fluvial flood forecasting. The prototype was developed under an InnovateUK partially funded project and has subsequently been developed under the Business Innovation programme. It has been adopted by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), it has been instrumental in a number of international bids and is making good headway in the insurance sector with JBA Risk Management Limited. Most recently, we secured a grant under the First of a Kind (FoaK) categoryand supported by Network Rail’s Geotechnical Team along with John Dora Consulting Limited (JDCL), to develop the surface water flooding component. To learn more about Flood Foresight visit our webpage.


As the name suggests AssetCoast provides decision support tools for coastal asset owners. It has been adopted by a number of regional coastal groups and more widely across Network Rail. The most recent adoption has been the success through Network Rail Wales Routes’ Coastal and Estuarine River Defences (CERDs) framework which lasts for five years. Previous surveys and coastal modelling will be updated to cater for the current climate change requirements in order to determine examination and refurbishment programmes. There are aspirations to expand the application to provide direct access by the client’s third party suppliers, to allow the improved management of the assets and work banks. The system consists of a suite of applications based around the iOS and web technologies. The former driven by GISmapp. For more information about AssetCoast visit our webpage.

Forecoast® Rail

A sophisticated tool for the response and management of extreme tide and/or weather events at coastal assets. It combines predicted tide and weather data with our own risk models to deliver a risk forecast. Asset specific trigger levels can then be determined, highlighting any risk to assets and workforce.

ForeCoast Marine

Ports and Forecoast MarineAdvanced logistics and metocean risk management system. Enabling operational strategies to be optimised throughout the lifetime of a port, marine construction or offshore energy project.  Developed through our Business Innovation programme we now have a Software as a Service application to support our extensive consultancy services. Our recent successes with our partners, SeaRoc, on a project in Japan demonstrates how this is moving from strength to strength. Find out more on the Forecoast Marine website.

Weather Warning Services

Met Eireann needed to deliver a weather warning alerting service that provided real-time, weather warnings to the public and selected organisations including energy, government, transport, telecommunication, water and utility companies. These organisations require alerts for locations throughout Ireland; they need to know if there is any immediate weather risk that could disrupt their ability to provide a service so that they can act and respond appropriately. Read more about the Weather Warning Service here.

Drainage Management

We have supported the continued development and management of drainage through data capture and drainage management tools. Initially via digitising historic maps, and more recently through the use of our GISmo and GISmapp drainage management tools in conjunction with the Drainage Management Database, which manages whole life drainage system costs, maintenance and refurbishment programmes.

Geotechnical Asset Management

For over 18 years we have been supporting the management of this asset group on site and in the office, with a significant programme of data improvement, third party supplier, and client support and hosting. The system is currently being updated on the iOS platform to provide compatibility with the client’s preferred platform, with a two-year rolling programme to update the supporting website to allow the most up to date technology to be adopted as well as to introduce the revised policies.

Flood Warning Service

We collaborate closely with other suppliers to deliver the Environment Agency’s services around flood warning, and following the November 2019 and February 2020 flood events we have recently been appointed to develop a real-time hydrological management support tool. This will provide automated access to a range of datasets and hydrological analysis as the data are available.

Incident Management Threshold Database (IMTD)

Working closely with Deltares and its system, FEWS, we have developed the Incident Management Threshold Database.

Flood Forecasting Systems

Nationally and internationally we have designed, developed, implemented and support a number of flood warning and forecasting systems providing management support tools working directly with all the JBA Group Operating Companies.

We are fortunate to be able to adopt new technologies as they become available and are suitable to the services we offer allowing us to develop applications which suit a broad range of requirements and aspirations.

Want to know more?

For more information about our decision support tools, email Andrew Gubbin.

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