Predictive flood warning system wins Analog’s Hackathon

Parts of Limerick and Clare were destroyed by flooding in recent years

A FRAMEWORK to provide more accurate flood predictions won the first ever Analog Devices Hackathon which set out to examine how ADI technology could be used to minimize the impact of flooding in Ireland.

The brainchild of locally-based employees, the theme of ‘flooding in Ireland’ was chosen because of the impact it has had on so many lives in rural and urban Ireland including Analog staff in Cork and Limerick.

During the two-day Hackathon in Thomond Park, Limerick, 60 young people from across Analog gathered to develop proposals on how ADI technology could be used to address what has become a recurring national issue.


The winning team of six people presented a full solution using ADI technology that would accurately predict floods and the severity of floods both proactively and reactively.  It included an array of sensors such as water level sensors, water quality sensors and drone sensors on lampposts along with flood mapping through drone aerial photography. All of which would help build a more accurate database over time and therefore a better predictive model.  An app would then send localised alerts to councils, residents and other concerned parties of the about likelihood, timing and severity of the flood.

Commenting on the winning concept, Mick Higgins, Analog, said, “In the run-up to this event, flooding experts told us that there is a gap in data monitoring of river basins.  Current technology also doesn’t tell us how severe floods will be.  This proposal fills that gap.”

Susan Feindt, Fellow, Advanced Development at Analog and a judge at the Hackathon noted, “Drone photography has had its drawbacks because it doesn’t work well in low light, however, this solution addressed how the sensors could be improved at night time.  It was a comprehensive solution and well thought out.  It was refreshing to see how they were able to redirect the deployment of existing ADI technology throughout their proposal.”

Ten teams, made up of representatives from a wide variety of functions and skill-sets within ADI, pitched their ideas to the judges, Dragon’s Den style. The judges chose the winning concept because of it best use of existing ADI technology and the emphasis on a complete solution in predicting the severity of floods and in doing so helping to alleviate the impact of flooding.

Other concepts looked at smart pumps (machine health) and smart sand bags.

The company will now engage with flooding experts like the Tyndall Institute, JBA Ireland and Gartland Concepts to examine the feasibility of developing the winning concept into a solution for actual deployment.

Colin Lyden, Fellow, Analog Devices, who led the event said, “The layers between our technology and the end user base are becoming less and less. Previously, our technology was sold to a manufacturer who built products, for example cat scanners, who then sold them to vendors and then to hospitals. We didn’t see the immediate impact our technology could have. This event was about showcasing how ADI technology can be used to address significant issues and how our technology and our people can make a difference.”