Flood Foresight team host remote work placement

We’re pleased to have recently hosted Heather Forbes for a two-week work placement, working remotely within the Flood Foresight team.

Heather is studying for an MSc in River Basin Dynamics and Management, and joined us from the University of Leeds for this two-week placement. Heather has been telling us a bit more about her time working remotely with the Flood Foresight team.

Forecast maximum return periods at 6 days ahead
Example: Forecast maximum return periods 6 days ahead

During lockdown I was fortunate enough to be able to complete a remote work experience placement with JBA Consulting. I was working on their Flood Foresight project, which produces forecasts of fluvial flooding events up to a 10-day lead time. The model had been run for the length of the 2019 Myanmar monsoon season, and there was over three months’ worth of data to review and validate!

My overall aim was to review the data in a way that would be useful to the project team, by searching for inaccuracies in the forecasts of significant flooding events that occurred through the season. Flood events during the 2019 monsoon season were validated using information in the DREF Final Report – Myanmar: Monsoon Floods 2019

Through a combination of GIS and R analysis I produced forecast ‘risk’ maps and calculated simple hit or miss scores to test the model performance. Unsurprisingly, I found that performance improved significantly as the lead time reduced, and the model became particularly accurate 3-4 days ahead of the events.

Forecast maximum return periods at 1 day ahead
Example: Forecast maximum return periods 1 day ahead

The placement has made me much more aware of the skills required to complete research projects in a commercial setting. I was pleased that my newly-learned R and GIS skills were able to be put to the test, though felt that with better coding skills I could have made the processing more efficient, and this will be a useful skill for me to develop going forwards. The nature of the remote placement also presented its own challenges. As I’m sure many of us have, I found that presenting with PowerPoint, and the use of other communication channels such as Skype, Teams and shared folders was critical to the success of the placement. The results were presented over Skype using PowerPoint as a visual aid, and the project team were always at the end of the phone to help if needed.

Highlights of working from home included the ideal proximity to the biscuit tin, and being free to shout at my computer when R would not co-operate. Whilst it was a shame not to have worked with the team face-to-face, I still felt like I was working alongside them and would like to thank them for their warm virtual welcome.


Want to know more?

Our warmest thanks to Heather for sharing this remote work placement experience.

Flood Foresight is a globally-scalable operational system providing data on rainfall severity, flood inundation footprints and depths, and flood impacts. Flood Foresight supports operational flood management in the infrastructure, insurance, utilities and civil contingencies sectors, and is designed to be compatible with existing business intelligence and decision support tools. Find out more about our flood forecasting and monitoring system at www.floodforesight.com. You can also email John Bevington.

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