Digital Transformation in Government Insight #86:
IoT helps fight bushfires, floods and drought
Victoria’s LaTrobe Valley has a new, real-time Internet of Things (IoT) system that monitors bushfire ignition, flood levels, rain, windspeed and air quality to deliver a range of benefits. This award-winning IoT project is a great case study for digital transformation in government.
The Latrobe Valley Information Network
The Latrobe Valley Information Network (LVIN) is a world-first in weather monitoring, with 45 sensors across the area providing 24-hour real-time information. The sensors monitor bushfire ignition, flood levels, rain, windspeed and air quality in this regional area, which is east of Melbourne. The LaTrobe Valley was chosen as a pilot site for the technology largely because of its history and recent disasters, specifically the Black Saturday fires and the Hazelwood coal mine fire in 2014.
The network will primarily benefit residents, emergency services and industry.
Residents can check air quality and general conditions in real-time. For example, an ABC article on the project talked about the problems with air quality for over 45 days during/after the Hazelwood coal mine fire — this new system will alert residents about air quality so they can make a decision to stay indoors or leave the area if need be. Similarly, the system will also alert residents about storm asthma conditions.
Emergency services will be able to access real-time data during emergencies, and early alerts for bushfires and floods. This will deliver many benefits, such as a faster response to bushfires and floods. During a fire it will also provide real-time, localised information on windspeed and direction, which will help emergency services predict a fire’s behaviour.
The IoT system is also expected to benefit farmers, with the website showing rainfall (live and historic) soil moisture and local weather conditions. This is particularly useful given the area is in drought. Now farmers will have more accurate information about when and where to expect rain.
The LVIN was launched in May this year and last month won two prestigious awards in the IoT Awards. The project was named Best Government IoT Project and also took out Best Overall IoT Project.
More about the network
The network was developed by Australian company Attentis and was implemented as part of the Federal Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Programs with support from the LaTrobe City Council.
The locations for the 45 sensors were chosen by a specialised committee with representatives from Victoria Police, Regional Roads Victoria, State Emergency Service, Country Fire Authority, Gippsland Water, Environment Protection Authority, Water Catchment Management Authority and the local community.
Salsa Digital’s take
The LVIN is a great example of digital transformation in government and how technology can provide benefits to citizens. The network is particularly relevant for the Australian conditions, to help combat bushfires and drought. IoT is already an important part of digital transformation in government and we believe this trend will continue. For some background info on IoT read our 2016 blog The Internet of Things and for another case study see Adelaide’s IoT smart water network. No doubt we’ll be blogging about other IoT case studies in the future.