In 2018, Edinburgh-based inventor Gary Martin developed RiverTrack, a tool that enables communities in Scotland to monitor and respond to the threat of floods in real-time. The system consists of low-cost sensors installed along streams and rivers to measure water levels. The data is relayed via Low Power Wide Area Network radio waves to screen displays in residents’ homes and businesses. Users can view the state of local water bodies on a consistent basis and are alerted when flooding is likely to occur, which enables them to respond rapidly and appropriately. Many communities in Scotland are impacted by flooding, and rapid response is the most important factor in reducing the severity of flood damage. The Scottish Flood Forum, supported by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), tested this technology in several neighbourhoods with positive results. RiverTrack offers a decentralized way for residents to access data about their environment and respond accordingly. In addition, there are  some concerns around unequal access to the system and how that might lead to uneven impacts of flooding on different community members. However, the technology and its implementation prioritize affordability and people-driven design, and it illustrates the role of local data collection and access for community wellbeing.


Lifestyle, Monitoring