Data Driven approaches to communicating flooding.


Flooding in York

More than 50 citizens, data and environmental scientists, journalists, and educators from Thailand to the United States gathered for UK Underwater 2020, a day-and-a-half virtual workshop through the Data Science Institute at Lancaster University June 1 and 2.

The workshop was related to flooding analysis and reporting when scientists and communicators are challenged to express the science and solutions surrounding increasingly widespread and dangerous flooding in the UK. Keynotes included Dr Juliet Pinto of Penn State, an expert in science communication, David Caswell, the lead of BBC News Labs, which is using AI in reporting flooding.

Other speakers focused on data visualisation, the use of drones to capture flooding damage and risk, and the role of data in creating a collaboration across the UK to tell digital stories about flood risk, inequalities related to flooding, and solutions in infrastructure and social strains of environmental change.

“All topics at the workshop were very relevant for the project I have been leading to increase flood risk awareness,” said one participant in a follow-up survey. “This is really exciting.”

UK Underwater 2020 was hosted by Dr Robert (Ted) Gutsche, Jr., Senior Lecturer in Critical Digital Media Practice in Lancaster’s Department of Sociology with the assistance of DSI coordinator Julia Carradus and Media and Cultural Studies Ph.D. Student Carolina Estrada.

The effort now is to form a collaboration surrounding these issues and the goals below for public-facing efforts across the UK related to communicating data and environmental science, and storytelling about flooding, the causes for environmental change, and possible solutions to reduce risk.

Videos from the workshop will appear soon on the project website, www.ukunderwater.co.uk. Please also reach out with interest to r.gutschejr@lancaster.ac.uk.

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