Miami was selected for the grant because of its project to predict tides in low-level areas, to send warnings to citizens about potential hazardous conditions along the coast.

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Miami has been collaborating with Esri on its Sea Level Rise Pilot Program since July, in order to use 3-D modeling capabilities and sensors to monitor king tides, high tides that arrive in conjunction with a full moon.

“We have some low-level areas that are impacted by king tides today that can cause flooding,” said Kevin Burns, chief information officer of the city of Miami information technology department.

Burns said that the city is working to purchase and install sensors at the sea walls and eventually farther out in the bay.

“Then we can start measuring the depth of the water, the height of the water,” Burns said.

Once the city starts collecting this data, Miami would post electric signs in affected neighborhoods to warn residents of incoming king tides. This information could also allow city officials to decide when hurricane evacuations are needed or whether they can be held off. City planners and business owners could also use the data to make real estate decisions. The real-time data provided by sensors could influence the decisions of tourists who want to visit Miami because they’re interested in the king tide phenomenon, according to Burns.

“Maybe they’re surfers and they want to come when the tides are high,” Burns said.

Miami also won the 100 Resilient Cities Grant, which it hopes to use in conjunction with the Readiness Grant to deploy technologies that can mitigate the effects of climate change and provide services to low-income residents.

“It will provide us with more capabilities of alerting and provide data that will allow us to make more informed decisions,” Burns said. “In general, it will make us a more informed society.”

– Morgan Lynch

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