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Flood Detection using Sensor Network and

Notification via SMS and Public Network

Conference Paper · February 2011


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Student Conference On Research And Development (SCOReD 2011)
2nd November 2011, Administration Gallery, UNITEN

Flood Detection using Sensor Network and

Notification via SMS and Public Network

Mohamed Ibrahim Khalaf alfahadiwy Azizah suliman

College of information technology, department
College of Information Technology
system and network
Universiti Tenaga Nasional
Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN)
Al-anaber, Iraq
Malaysia, Selangor

system components will consist of microcontrollers, sensors,

Abstract— This paper presents a description of an alert modem and computers.
generating system for flood detection. This paper focused A wireless sensor network (WSN) has several features
on the development of the system which will determine the like a group of low cost, multifunctional, low power and small
current water level by means of sensors and by using size wireless sensor nodes that cooperate together to sense the
wireless sensor network will then provide notification via environment, process the data and communicate wirelessly
GSM modem. The system however do not just stops there over a short distance. The sensors are commonly used to
but proceed to also send notification through popular monitor physical or environmental conditions, such as
social network like the Facebook and Twitters. It is felt temperature, sound, water level, pressure, motion or pollutants,
that notification system such as flood warning system at areas of interest. In this project, we used water level sensor
should be carried a step further in notifying the public. for monitoring and detection in disaster areas. [2].
Since social networking is at the moment one of the Wireless telecommunications, is the transfer of
popular medium of communication, sending an alert information between two or more points that are physically not
through it would hence reach a larger audience. A connected. Distances can be short or long according to the
prototype of the proposed system is discussed in this paper capability of the device. There are two types of wireless device
and the result of the testing phase is also elaborated. The which have been chosen to send the signal from high risk flood
architecture of the system can be expanded further to a area to the common people. The first device is Global System
fully functioning system in alerting the public of an for Mobile Communications(GSM) supports roaming service
impending disaster caused by flood. to the people around the world that allows a user of GSM
network send a short message service (SMS) to the receive
mobile telephony service when the person communication with
Keywords: flood detection system, wireless sensor network, network . the second device which used to send the signal
microcontroller, radio frequency, GSM. wirelessly from area flood to the flood control center is Radio
frequency (RF). Radio frequency is one of the varieties of
I. INTRODUCTION electromagnetic waves with a frequency or wavelength
Floods are among the most common disasters and natural convenient for utilization in radio communication. There are
hazard in the world, affecting human lives and causing severe two kinds of frequency that applied in radio communication,
economic damage. It is understood that flood risks will not which are carrier frequency and modulated frequency. The
decrease in the future and with the beginning of climate duty of carrier frequency waves is serving as a carrier of the
change, flood intensity and frequency will threaten many lower frequency audio waves and others are modulated by two
regions of the world [1]. To minimize the extent of damages things video or digital information.[3]
caused by flood, warning systems to inform the people of the Nowadays, the technology which has been used for flood
disaster should be implemented in high risk areas. This system detection system is much more precise than the devices of the
will be able to reduce the damages of flood. last decade. Unfortunately, there are still some lack in the
The system should be designed to be able to detect the rising significant of an early warning system is difficult to alert the
levels of water so appropriate warnings to the authorities and whole people in the area.
the public can be send. In general, such a flood notification Consequently, we are developing the system which is
suitable to give continuous alert information to the people by
Student Conference On Research And Development (SCOReD 2011)
2nd November 2011, Administration Gallery, UNITEN

SMS and social network especially at the critical situation. the concentrated focal point and an information source that can be
majority of people who lost their lives by flood are not personalized. There are many types of portal and one of them
received any alert from the flood control center about the is community portal. Community portals provide improved
increasing water level caused by continuous rainfall and communication and contact with a community online
overflow of river providing local or community based information. Social
networking portals are now the recent trend.
In a social networking site (SNS), members join the
various communities and create a user profile in the site and
can connect to one another within the community. Some
example of how huge the following of social networks are : the
A. PROBLEM STATEMENT social networking site MySpace which ranks sixth in overall
web traffic, with over 47 million unique US visitors each
month (Dwyer, 2007). The web traffic data for Facebook,
a social networking site oriented towards college students,
shows 15 million unique US visitors a month (Dwyer,
2007). These data are of 2007 and the followers of these and
other social sites are at the moment still on the increase
especially in places outside the US. Communities can be better
informed more quickly through online social networking. For
these reasons it is felt the social network and community portal
should also be used for alert systems like the flood detection
and notification system so a larger group can be warn of the
impending danger. The flood control center should have a web
portal and a social network with group of people in the areas
where flood is one of the risks.

TABLE I: Comparison of Damage Caused by Three

Recent Disasters
Figure 1. Aftermath of flood in Pakistan 2010
Incident Number of deaths Estimated financial
Lives had been lost because of flood. Flood may happen
The cost of
anytime during the four season and at any area around the
rebuilding roads
world. Table 1 showed and estimate that the Damage of flood
there was put at
which Caused by Three Recent Disasters in 2010. The results The worst floods
Khyber some 5bn Pakistani
which have been received about flood disaster encourage us to in Pakistan's
Pakhtunkhwa and rupees ($59m,
find the best solution for the natural hazard. A detection and history have hit at
Punjab, Pakistan £38m), also, 1.4m
notification system for flood is hence proposed as a measure to least 14 million
(August 2010) acres (557,000
lessen the risk of damages caused by flood to life and property people
hectares) and more
as showed in Figure 1.
than 10,000 cows
This system will be a good opportunity in making the
have perished.
operation more efficient and synchronize. From last decade,
killing at least 31
there are many variety of systems have been produce to
people, with 23
prevent this problem from happen again. Therefore, new the southern
people missing.
system need to invented and applicable fro any time and any coast of China,
and 100,000 75 million dollars
area to solve this problem effectively by using best technology China (October
people to leave
that using in world currently, and the system should be simple 2010)
their homes over
and useful. This system can inform the people before a lot of
the weekend,
benefit to the people which can be able to safe their live and
properties. Heavy flooding
Southern city, has already killed
B. IMPACT OF THE SOCIAL NETWORK AND WEB PORTALS Thailand more than 100 1.6 billion dollars
( Nov 2010) people around the
In the last few years, the Internet and especially the Web
has prompted and enabled a revolution on how people
communicate. Web portals, provide efficient access to
information and services online and they provide a central
Student Conference On Research And Development (SCOReD 2011)
2nd November 2011, Administration Gallery, UNITEN

II. RELATED WORK collected from the process system in second part and it will
transmit the modulated signal through the antenna. The signal
Previous work covers a wide variety of topics including from the third part will be received by the receiver part to be
flood detection system in some developing countries like displayed on the display segment.
Canada, Australia and USA Many researchers have been
developed flood detection system in various ways, some of the III. SYSTEM DESIGN AND DESCRIPTION
types are based on GSM, early warning system for flood,
satellite and MC68HC11 Microcontroller. Flood detecting notification by using wireless sensor network
is to detect the flood in advance way. In this system, two
significant things include hardware design and software
development. The hardware part is very important for
A. Flood detection system alert thesystem that can be able to control the whole system and the
transmitter and receiver Module that use in the wireless
In order to construct flood detection system that is useful purpose for send and receive the signal. Flood detection system
and efficient by using GSM. Aziz et al [4] proposed is containing five main components:
architecture for an early warning flood system to alert public  Water level sensor
against flood disaster. The research work proposed an  PIC16F877A
architecture for a cooperative flood detection using GSM via  Radio frequency
SMS in order to notify communities and hence to develop a  Global system communication mobile(GSM)
prototype application of the system. The system focuses on
monitoring water level remotely using wireless sensor
network. Also, utilizes Global System for Mobile
communication (GSM) and Short Message Service (SMS) to
relay data from sensors to computers or directly alert the
respective victim’s through their mobile phone.
Subramaniam et al used Flood Observatory System
(FOS) as a warning and alert system, to efficiently monitor the
critical flood prone areas in real time basis. FOS is designed to
be an intelligent gadget which is capable of sending real time
water level information from a remote location to a monitoring Figure 2. Block diagram shown the process of signal
station which could be at a distance away, regardless of time.
FOS can be linked to a visual and audio unit to display
warnings and alerts the users via text displays or traffic light A. Water Level Sensor
system in an event of flooding.[5]
Martinis presented an automatic near-real time (NRT) Water level sensor is consider one of the important
flood detection system which combines histogram thresholding devices which has been used in the project because from this
and segmentation based classification, specifically oriented to device can be recognized the current level of water. The
the analysis of single-polarized very high resolution Synthetic function of this sensor is detecting the rising of water. When
Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite data. The challenge of SAR- the water is rising up will send the signal to the PIC. in this
based flood detection is addressed in a completely situation needs to accurate sensor to give information to the
unsupervised way, which assumes no training data and whole people in the area about level of water. The type of
therefore no prior information about the class statistics to be sensors which has been selected for this project is F11B
available concerning the area of investigation.[6] This is (Model Number). This sensor is base on NAND Gate. The
usually the case in NRT-disaster management, where the most significant of this sensor are small size, inexpensive, easy
collection of ground truth information is not feasible due to to use and available in the market.
Zain et al. are proposed the development of flood
detector system which will determine the current water level
that is assumed from the voltage from the detector. The data
that has been collected will be analyzed in database to make
sure the safety purpose been taken if the water reach to
warning level. This project consists of three parts which the
first part involved the development of the system that is
capable to detect water level.[7] The second part is the
development of the system that can process the value that has
been collected to the water deepness level. The third part is
about the system that will modulate the signal that has been Figure 3. Water level sensor connect PIC
Student Conference On Research And Development (SCOReD 2011)
2nd November 2011, Administration Gallery, UNITEN

These three sensors are connecting directly to PIC, which is D. Global System For mobile Communication
able to detect the level of water. When the water in the low
level the led will off and a message will be displayed in the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)
HyperTerminal, “the water is normal”, and when the water is is a wireless digital network standard designed by
very high, the led and buzzer will on and display message in standardization committees from the major European
the HyperTerminal “the water is very dangerous”. telecommunications operators and manufacturers. The
GSM standard provides a common set of compatible
B. Peripheral interface controller (PIC) services and capabilities to all mobile users across Europe
and several million customers worldwide. GSM supports
Peripheral interface controller (PIC) is considere the roaming service that allows a user of GSM network A to
main components used in the system. All the code which receive mobile telephony service when the person visits a
has been programmed by C language is installed inside PIC. different GSM network B. If both GSM networks A and B
The type of PIC that used in this project is PIC16F877A. are within the same country, call setup for a roamer can be
Additionally, PIC16F877A consider the main control of this done efficiently.[8]. In the table 2 we have shown the
system and has the ability to identify the functions of the comparison among wireless technology and why we are
system through software that is installed inside. One of the using GSM instead other types.
functions of PIC will receive the signal from the tree sensors
and it will process the data to know about the current level
of water. The data which has been processed will display at A. Application of GSM/3G–SMS/ Bluetooth technology
computer personal (PC) as the output.
Comparison among wireless technologies which currently using in the
A. Radio frequency

Radio frequency (RF) is one of the varieties of Range Data Benefits Media
electromagnetic waves with a frequency or wavelength The range of GSM 1. Mobility This device is
convenient for utilization in radio communication. There are is very wide that 9.614. suitable for
two kinds of frequency that applied in radio communication, can cover all the 4 using and the
2. Easy
GSM kbps(
which are carrier frequency and modulated frequency. world availability cost is quite
kilobit low
s per
3. High
a. Transmission medium secon
The duty of Transmission medium to send the signal d)
from sensor part to the flood control center part as shown in The maximum 1. Wireless This kind of
the figure fig 3.2. range of Bluetooth technology is
is 10 meters 2.Standardized need to spend
(~30ft). There is 700 protocol money just
The Transmission medium that used in this system must be Some high Kbps need access
connect to the encoder to make sure the data is directly Blueto powered devices (kilob 3. Low point from the
transmitted to the receiver. The function of encoder is to oth extend range up to its per consumption distance place
change a signal or data into a code. The Decoder will only 100 meters in secon of energy
special case.[9] d)
receive the data from the encoder when its address is similar
to the address of encoder. When the information is sent vity
through RB0-RB3, the same information is received by
decoder. Thus, it can be conclude that the encoder and The range is 1.Always- The cost of
decoder are fully functioning. [7]. limited and depend online services send a file text
on many variable through this
2.Fast technology is
b. Receiver module Mbps
download or need too much
receiving of memory
The general concept for receiver is the receiving end per
large files such compare with
of a communication channel. The function of receiver is 3G as faxes, GSM
videos and
receives decoded messages or information from the d)
sender, who first encoded them. Sometimes the receiver is files
modeled to include the decoder. As shown in the figure
3.2 the receiver module is located at the receiver part to
receive the data from transmission part then, send to the
PIC directly to processes it and display the data on PC.
Receiver module is installed at RA0-RA3 in the PIC.
Student Conference On Research And Development (SCOReD 2011)
2nd November 2011, Administration Gallery, UNITEN

The second part of this project is software. This part
control all the system by the code, which has been The main objective we have gained from this system is
programmed the PIC. Since the project is based on PIC, the able to spread the news quickly during flood disaster to the
development of software plays a major role in develop the general public by using SMS and social network like Facebook
system. A PCW language is used in this project. The program and Twitter. The main reason we select face book and twitter
is written modularly to list the module functionality. Each because majority of people nowadays using these applications
program is written and assembled and then stored into EPROM to communicate.
using EPROM Programmer (EP). Additionally, in this project
would be using Ozeki Message Server as a SMS gateway A. Architecture of flood detection system
application that able to send SMS from website to the mobile
by GSM modem. In the GSM modem will insert Subscriber flood can happen in any time, and when flood hazards
Identity Module(SIM card) to send alert messages for the happens and the level of water increasing rapidly, the sensor
controller that resides in computer when he is not present at will record the levels of water and the data are send to the
flood control center. flood controller system. In the prototype model of the system,
it contains three sensors. As shows in figure 4 First sensor is to
Table III: detect the low level and a message “Normal water level” will
Comparison between current technology Used in Disaster alert.[10] be send out. The second sensor detects the medium level of
water with a message “Dangerous Level”. The last one will
channel Advantage Challenges
Short message Reliable, low-cost 1. The most challenge
detect the high level of water with a message “Very dangerous,
service (SMS) communication mechanism in this channel when evacuation is needed” which inform the people the dangers
for concise information since the local people don’t situation of flood.
the majority of people have use mobile service. In this system, we are using two techniques to send
their mobile phones at arm’s 2. The language
reach 24 hours a day is very problem to the foreign
the data via SMS to the controller and the public. The first
easy send the message very people. technique; we are using GSM for sending the information to
quickly to all the people the controller at flood control center only. The second
technique will send the information to the mobile company,
E-mail service The best feature of Mail is This channel is not
which has ability to spread the information to whole people
delivered instantly. From the widespread and need who live in the area flood. Additionally, all the information,
flood office can send from user to check the which has been received at flood control center, will upload to
message to anywhere in The news every moment. the website to send notification through popular social network
world. Additionally less
expensive compare with
like the Facebook and Twitters. This system is using C
others like mobile, fax..etc. language to program PIC.

Radio and Television and radio have The main obstacle of

Television revolutionized mass this communication is
communication. This mass is not work at night
widespread in the world because is usually
currently. switch off and the
people is sleep

Home Telephone Messages delivered quickly. Problems of accuracy

and furthermore can get all sort Does not arrive at
mobile of information and news non-users
about the disaster overcrowding

Figure 2: the flowchart of this system

Siren This piece of equipment that Cannot give details

makes very loud warning message
sounds is very good using in
countryside, and can be used
at night to wake up the

Through the results that we have emerged from the

table 3 we can see that the best way to inform
people about disasters and this feature of message
are available in most mobile phones

Figure 4. Architecture of Flood detection system

Using GSM
Student Conference On Research And Development (SCOReD 2011)
2nd November 2011, Administration Gallery, UNITEN


[1] S. I. Khan, Y. Hong, J. Wang et al., “Satellite

Remote Sensing and Hydrologic Modeling for
Flood Inundation Mapping in Lake Victoria
Basin: Implications for Hydrologic Prediction in
Ungauged Basins,” Geoscience and Remote
Sensing, IEEE Transactions on, vol. 49, no. 1, pp.
85-95, 2011.
[2] N. A. A. Aziz, and K. A. Aziz, "Managing disaster
with wireless sensor networks." pp. 202-207.
[3] K. Pahlavan, and A. H. Levesque, Wireless
information networks: Wiley Online Library,
[4] I. Aziz, I. Hamizan, N. Haron et al., "Cooperative
flood detection using GSMD via SMS." pp. 1-7.
[5] S. K. Subramaniam, V. R. Gannapathy, S.
Subramonian et al., “Flood level indicator and
risk warning system for remote location
monitoring using flood observatory system,”
WSEAS Transactions on Systems and Control,
vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 153-163, 2010.
[6] S. Martinis, A. Twele, and S. Voigt, “Towards
operational near real-time flood detection using
a split-based automatic thresholding procedure
on high resolution TerraSAR-X data,” Natural
Hazards and Earth System Sciences, vol. 9, pp.
303-314, 2008.
[7] Z. M. Zain, and M. Khalid, "Development of
Flood Detector System Using MC68HC11
Microcontroller." pp. 1-5.
[8] Y. J. Cho, Y. B. Lin, and H. C. H. Rao, “Reducing
Figure 5. The flowchart of this system the network cost of call delivery to GSM
roamers,” Network, IEEE, vol. 11, no. 5, pp. 19-
25, 1997.
[9] A. Noori, “Room monitoring system using radio
frequency (RF) technology and passive infrared
The flood detection system is described in this paper. sensor (PIR),” 2008.
The system will determine the current water level by using [10] C. Wattegama, “ICT for disaster management,”
wireless sensor network, which will also provide notification United Nations Development Programme-Asia-
of SMS via GSM modem. SMS is as an helpful alert Pacific Development Information Programme,
communication tools that can distribute the information to
floods victim in a particular area. This system is able to detect 2007.
a level of water and send that data to the main flood control
centre even if it close or far away from the sensor that detect
the level of water. The purpose of radio module in this project
is used as the medium to send the data from transmitter module
to the receiver module.
Student Conference On Research And Development (SCOReD 2011)
2nd November 2011, Administration Gallery, UNITEN

Mohammed I. khalaf was born on 13 February 1986 in

Ramadi, Iraq. He received his B.Sc. Degree in
Information System from the College of Computer,
University of Anbar, in 2008. He received his Master in
Information Technology program at the College of
Graduate Studies, Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN), in 2012 Malaysia.

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