A few years ago there existed only one gauge in Georgia that monitored tide levels and that was at Fort Pulaski on the Savannah River. Now Georgia is home to more than 40 sensors that keep track of the rise and fall of sea levels in Savannah and Chatham County. According to one expert, thanks to the Smart Sea Level Sensors partnership program, Georgia now has the highest density of water monitoring sensors anywhere in the world.
The smart sea level sensor project is a partnership between the city of Savannah, Chatham County Emergency Management, and Georgia Tech that started approximately two years ago with a $100,000 grant.
During the past 18 months, 42 sensors have been installed around bridges, coastal areas prone to flooding, docks, marinas and at some private sites, according to Russell J. Clark, director of Mobile Technology & IoT Programs at Georgia Tech-Savannah. Thirty additional sensors are expected to be installed this year.
Clark, who is also co-director of Georgia Tech’s Research Network Operations Center, explained that the sensors have wireless technology, are online all the time and transmit water level readings every five minutes. The data is stored in the virtual cloud and from that information programs can determine trends and conduct analytics. Chatham County Emergency Management officials monitor the information routinely and share it with Savannah officials.
“We are able to look at all the data and give alerts when a location’s water is rising or about to flood,” Clark said.