The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District recently went live with the mobile website “River Status” that gives anyone with a smart device and Internet access an ability to view real-time water information within the Cumberland River watershed.
The public can access “River Status” by opening a web browser and going to http://riverstatus.usace.army.mil. Users get instant access to stream gages, rain gages, water quality data and lake information. The site also provides info from nearby gages, and the public can view flood hazard maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“The Nashville District worked closely with the Hydrologic Engineering Center, an organization within the Institute for Water Resources, to develop River Status,’” said Lt. Col. John L. Hudson, Nashville District commander. “The information is accessible on smart phones, which is a tremendous resource for everyone in the region.”
There are a number of useful purposes of this mobile web. Fishing enthusiasts could use it to see if a dam is releasing water, the water temperature, and if the hydropower plant is generating. A potential home buyer could also check to see if a home is near or in FEMA’s identified Flood Zone. During significant rainfall events, people can get the rainfall amounts and can see the increase in the height of a local stream from a nearby water gage by looking at a hydrograph. Users have the ability to look at the data on daily, weekly, monthly or year-to-date charts.
River Status uses the mobile devices location-based Global Positioning System services to find nearby gages and pinpoint the user’s location. All devices that support HTML Version 5 should be able to access, display, and interact with the website. It will run on any smart phone with current HTML standards such as iPhone, Android, and Windows. Users do not have to “install” an app; it is accessed from a browser. The site can easily be saved to the home screen of any mobile device for quick access. It can also be accessed from a laptop or home computer.
The Nashville District partnered with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, which signed a letter of intent Nov. 1, 2011 indicating its interest in the project, a requirement for the Corps to develop a mobile web application to enable the public to efficiently access information on mobile web devices.
According to Project Manager Doug DeLong, the federally funded project cost $135,000.
“Section 206 of the Flood Control Act of 1960 gave the Corps the authority to develop this tool,” DeLong said. “Under the act’s allowance of floodplain management services, we were able to provide these technical services without charge to the public.”
DeLong added that the mobile web application is capable of accessing and displaying United States Geologic Survey stream gage data and display the Federal Emergency Management Agency Flood Insurance Rate Map data important for floodplain management, mitigation, and insurance activities for the National Flood Insurance Program.
Bob Sneed, Nashville District Water Management Section chief, said people that are interested in water conditions in nearby rivers and Corps of Engineers dams will want to pin River Status to the home screen of their iPhone, Android and Windows devices.
“This is a very valuable tool that provides direct access to lots of information,” Sneed said. “I think that everyone will find it easy to use. Any user can navigate to the information most useful to them, and then can add select specific pages as favorites, which helps them quickly navigate to the tools most often accessed.”