ESA title

SaferPlaces, an AI-based digital twin platform for flood risk intelligence in urban areas

Data Segment
  • Data Processing & Visualisation
  • Data Analytics, Insights & Applications
  • Product Development
SaferPlaces Global Platform is a revolutionary Digital Twin Platform able to support multiple users in assessing flood risk for cities worldwide and making flood smart data-driven decisions. Open EO-Data (Geospatial, Satellite and Climate) and AI-based models are combined into a cloud-computing environment to provide incredible insights in terms of flood risk intelligence.
Objectives of the Product

The proposed solution consists in a cloud-based platform to assess and forecast pluvial, fluvial and coastal hazard and support communities with high resolution, timely and accurate flood risk intelligence. The cloud platform provides a digital copy, so called ‘twin’ of the urban catchment, where users can quickly and cost-effectively generate flood hazards and risk maps, allowing the test of the effectiveness of multiple flood mitigation measures, and supporting early warning and flood emergency.

With the integration of Earth Observation satellite data, the SaferPlaces platform can automatically generate more accurate inputs to the existing algorithms, in terms of flooded areas, rainfall data and DEM generation. By performing calculations in almost real-time, with the ability to include climate risks and adaptation plans, SaferPlaces supports multiple stakeholders in improving preparedness and climate resilience.

Customers and their Needs:

Multiple stakeholders, public and private, are involved when flood events happen. They can benefit from punctual, location-explicit and timely information provided by the SaferPlaces platform to understand, respond and plan appropriately against flooding. Specifically, SaferPlaces can help:

  • Local Administrations, like cities and urban planners as they can benefit from improved resilience and mitigation/adaptation plans, to adequately prepare against flooding in their territory;
  • Insurance and Reinsurance companies, in filling the gaps in flood risk scoring and in data availability at high resolution (parcel level) for every location worldwide;
  • Multi-utility and transportation companies, in improving the resilience of their infrastructures;
  • Civil Protection and Emergency Agencies, in supporting their first response and early warning plans/activities;
  • Climate Tech Companies, in providing high-resolution data with global coverage that SaferPlaces can provide;
  • Finance institutions (commercial and investment banks), as they need to adjust their risk assessment models with no prior specific knowledge on climate. The common main challenges faced by all the stakeholders is the uneven coverage of flood data and risk maps at global level, as well as the lack of in-house tools and expertise to deal with flooding.

Targeted customer/users countries

Europe, US, Worldwide

Product description

The SaferPlaces platform already delivers on-demand timely risk assessment data for pluvial, fluvial and coastal flood hazards, by creating a digital twin of any urban flood watershed environment.

The innovation consists in integrating within a cloud computing framework the availability of big open data (climate, satellite, economic exposure and elevation model) repository (Copernicus (Sentinel), Capella Space, ICEYE, COSMO, UP42 Airbus, Google Earth Engine and Amazon) and innovative AI-based flood hazard and damage models with proprietary IPR. The users can generate the required flood risk intelligence with global coverage through a few easy steps and with competitive economic costs.

Within the framework of ESA Incubed, we are developing new functionalities able to integrate satellite data and automatically generate three fundamental spatial layers:

  • High resolution Digital Elevation Models (DEM)
  • Flood water map extension
  • Rainfall Intensity Map improving the precipitation data blended with ground data.

These layers are merged within the elastic and scalable cloud framework of the SaferPlaces platform, with the aim to ensure global high-resolution coverage and provide more accurate input data to the existing model component algorithms. In addition, they enrich the platform with the possibility to map in quasi-real time flood hazards, for supporting flood emergency and disaster management.

Added Value

SaferPLACES differs from other products already existing because it offers not only static maps, but a cloud web platform performing calculations in almost real-time, with the ability to include climate risks and adaptation plans. In addition, it exploits high resolution data, it fills data gaps when present, and it addresses multiple climate and mitigation scenarios.

One of SaferPLACES unique characteristics is Accessibility: high-resolution flood risk maps with no need of complex and resource-intensive models. Nevertheless, compared to existing solutions SaferPLACES has other unique advantages: first of all, it allows global coverage, solving the needs of those investing and operating in remote locations; secondly, SaferPlaces is cost effective, requiring no computing power or significant pre-existing expertise; last but not least, SaferPlaces provides climate and resilience-related insights: it offers the customers the chance to see whether flood risk mitigation options work under dynamic urban and climate conditions.

Current Status

SaferPlaces ESA in-cubed activities and project implementation started the 1th of September and will last for 18 month. Nowadays we have defined the implementation plan and drafted the technological framework for the new EO-based functionalities.

The SaferPlaces Platform is anyway available and can be activated for every city worldwide, a demo is available after registration at our web site

Prime Contractor Company
Italy Flag Italy
Contractor Project Manager
Stefano Bagli
Via Costantino Bagli 2/D
ESA Technical Officer
Zoltan Bartalis

Current activities