Riverside attends 98th American Meteorological Society (AMS) 2018 Annual Meeting

The 98th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) was held last month in Austin, TX. As in past years, Riverside employees provided many technical contributions throughout the proceedings. Riverside’s participation spoke directly to the 2018 Weather, Water, and Climate Communications theme with numerous Riverside speakers and session chairs. Our booth focused on Riverside’s greatest assets, the Riverside employees, and how we are fundamental to the success of our company. Additionally, we sponsored a lunch session on Unlocking the Value of Satellite Observations through the Cloud. As always, one of the greatest benefits AMS provided was the opportunity for Riverside participants to connect with numerous current clients, potential clients, current partners, and potential partners.

Riverside employee Ward Seguin presenting on the people and projects that make Riverside great.

Riverside employee Ward Seguin presenting on the people and projects that make Riverside great.

The theme this year was, “Transforming Communication in the Weather, Water and Climate Enterprise Focusing on Challenges Facing our Sciences.” The following excerpt from the Program Proceedings places this theme into context. Note how it aligns with many of the activities that we currently perform for NOAA.

Communication is a dynamic, powerful, and essential part of the weather, climate, and water enterprise. Successful communication requires active engagement – not only thinking about what, when, where, how, why, and to whom we speak but also carefully listening to better understand and respond appropriately. Every day we communicate to share and generate ideas, exchange information, inform the public, and create an understanding and awareness of our sciences. And we do this with the goal of benefiting society within an ever-changing backdrop of policy, technology, and knowledge.

To ensure the success of our enterprise in the future, the 2018 AMS Annual Meeting theme is devoted to exploring our culture of communication. The years 2019–20 will mark an inflection point for the AMS as it celebrates its 100th anniversary. Regardless of how we communicated during the past century, the next 100 years will unquestionably be far different and ever-changing. Formidable challenges remain in communicating emergency actions simply, expressing probabilistic/ uncertainty information clearly, honing our predictive skills for chaotic systems, and perfecting our data collection and analysis techniques, all of which will be happening across scientific disciplines and between the government, academic, and commercial sectors, as well as with international collaborators. The intent of the 2018 Annual Meeting theme is to enhance our scientific conference with a focus on communication science and practice as the cornerstone upon which we can stand and lead through innovative, unifying solutions to enhance and strengthen our enterprise.

The 2018 AMS Planning Committee encouraged that time be devoted to answering one or more of the following questions through special sessions, keynote speakers, town hall meetings, oral/poster presentations and panel discussions:

  • What are the key opportunities, both technical and practical, for improving communication within your specialty areas? What are examples of best practices for new methods of communication?
  •  What is the future of scientific communication in general including BAMS and other online AMS-related media? 
  • How should future AMS meetings be structured to improve community-wide engagement and knowledge exchange? How can technology make meetings accessible to more people?
  •  What are the communication opportunities across generations, languages, cultures, and the government, academic, and commercial sectors? In what ways can each specialty improve engagement with other disciplines, policy-makers, and the public? 

These questions are worth considering as we perform our day-to-day activities. Consider the following quote taken from the main NOAA web page (emphasis added).

From daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce, NOAA’s products and services support economic vitality and affect more than one-third of America’s gross domestic product. NOAA’s dedicated scientists use cutting-edge research and high-tech instrumentation to provide citizens, planners, emergency managers and other decision makers with reliable information they need when they need it.

The “provision of reliable information” requires two-way communication. It is not sufficient for NOAA to simply product products and information; they must also be understood by the intended audiences if they are to be catalysts for the transformation of data into value. That message is the essence of this AMS meeting. The salient question for us is, then, how can we help NOAA better achieve that goal? Riverside, in conjunction with AER, provided box lunches for the Panel Discussion on Unlocking the Value of Satellite Observation for the Public through Cloud-based Access.

NOAA's Chief Data Officer and Big Data Project (BDP) Director, Dr. Ed Kearns, convenes experts from across the commercial data industry and research sector to discuss how NOAA's satellite resources may be made available to a wider community through cloud-based platforms that focuses on maximizing data usability and accessibility. Panelists include BDP Collaborators, researchers, and commercial industry representatives who will discuss their experiences with GOES-16 and other satellite data on their cloud platforms, how these platforms can be used to support the development and distribution of future satellite products, and their view of the future for the cloud to ensure the maximum extraction of value for NOAA's data users. Q&A will seek user feedback on cloud data access, the NOAA BDP activity, and the suitability of the cloud for development and distribution of new information products. A limited number of boxed lunches will be provided by Riverside Technology and AER.

Riverside employees provided numerous technical presentations (oral and poster) and co-chaired various sessions. Riverside employees also contributed to papers or posters presented by others.

This year, our featured booth presentation focused on us, the Riverside employees, and how we are fundamental to the success of our company. Our stellar reputation, honestly earned by all our hard work and dedication to our customer’s needs, remains a great ambassador for us. In fact, we are always encouraged when young scientists and engineers seek us out to drop off a copy of their resume and this year was no exception.

We look forward to doing it all again in Phoenix in 2019 – we hope to see you there!

Riverside Technology hosts Side Panel Discussion at AMS Conference in January

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Riverside Technology, inc. and Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) will host the Side Panel Discussion: “Unlocking the Value of Satellite Observations for the Public through Cloud-Based Access” on Tuesday January 9, 2018 from 12:15pm-1:15pm. This will take place in room 18CD at the Austin Convention Center and Hilton. The panel features NOAA’s Chief Data Officer and Big Data Project Director, Dr. Ed Kearns as well as experts from the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites-North Carolina (CICS-NC), Amazon Web Services, IBM, Open Commons Consortium, and Digital Globe.  They gather to discuss how NOAA’s satellite resources may be made available to a wider community through cloud-based platforms that focus on maximizing data usability and accessibility.

Panelists will discuss their experiences with GOES-16 and other satellite data on their cloud platforms, how these platforms can be used to support the development and distribution of future satellite products, and their view of the future for the cloud to ensure the maximum extraction of value for NOAA’s data users. Q&A will seek user feedback on cloud data access, the NOAA BDP activity, and the suitability of the cloud for development and distribution of new information products. A limited number of boxed lunches will be provided by Riverside and AER.

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Small Business Innovation Research for Risk-Based Decisions

Riverside and our Asheville-based partners, NEMAC and FernLeaf, have developed web-based tools to connect severe weather with socioeconomic information to help identify vulnerability of assets and to inform risk based decisions. We developed tools to integrate data from National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and other National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data centers with socioeconomic and other custom datasets. Our initial efforts have been to develop tools, services, and datasets to help community Emergency Managers (EMs) and city planners connect severe weather to hazards with socioeconomic information to determine exposure and to inform resiliency planning.

Our recently available Severe Weather Climatology and Data website, sbir.riverside.com, provides publicly available product information, highlights NCEI data, demonstrates our free interactive tools, and points customers to our fee-based products and services. 

Other aspects of the SBIR project are still under development.

  1. Severe Weather Risk Assessment. These are free interactive web-based tools that are integrated with the Severe Weather Climatology and Data website. These tools provide integrated access to processing and analysis of publicly available datasets. They visualize the available data sources in meaningful ways to enable users to explore severe weather, the resulting hazards, and their impacts on society.
  2. Customized Severe Weather and Multi-Hazard Risk Tools and Services.  These paid products will include software, data, and services customized for communities.

Riverside’s corporate mission is to “improve lives and livelihoods by leveraging environmental intelligence to solve the world’s most challenging water, land, and climate related problems.” By participating in these research projects and through our partnerships with businesses and institutions, we aim to advance the overall understanding of the severity and frequency of extreme events, and provide tools for decision makers in their planning and response.

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To insure that our customers can fully apply our tools to their risk analysis needs, we have designed the tools to match the risk process and definitions outlined in the US Climate Resilience Toolkit (toolkit.climate.gov). We assume that most of our customers will be using a risk analysis process similar to the one utilized by the US Climate Resilience Toolkit.

Collaboration between Riverside Technology, inc. and TruWeather Solutions

TruWeather Solutions provides forecasting and alerting technology

TruWeather Solutions provides forecasting and alerting technology

Riverside has worked for more than 30 years to meet the unique and changing needs of the water and weather industry. We have long believed in collaborating with companies providing cutting-edge technology to bring science-based actionable information to their clients. We are therefore proud to announce a relationship with TruWeather Solutions, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) headquartered in Virginia, and operating out of New York State. TruWeather is focused on accelerating weather science and technology from labs and universities into commercial operations. TruWeather’s cutting-edge capabilities provide clients a competitive advantage through organization-wide dissemination of highly customized weather messages and visualizations to plan, prepare, and execute decisions and actions consistently for any type of weather scenario. TruWeather has a proven framework for recovering lost profits for weather sensitive businesses.

By joining the functionality of Riverside’s RiverTrak real-time flood inundation maps with TruWeather’s weather forecasting data and alerting platform, we provide an end-to-end solution to improve the quality of data for emergency managers, first responders, community planners, and for businesses and individuals who are affected by weather and flooding. This serves as an essential source of information for planning, preparation, response, and recovery.

Riverside and TruWeather are working together towards a complex view of how water and weather events impact business intelligence and supply logistics decision while simplifying that information for organizations. We will continue the ongoing work of assessing impacts of water quality and how it affects aquiculture and agriculture by way of heavy rains impacting specific areas and evaluating how to best address and mitigate issues that arise.

Onion Creek in Austin, TX after catastrophic flooding in 2013. As mapped by RiverTrak.

Onion Creek in Austin, TX after catastrophic flooding in 2013. As mapped by RiverTrak.

Riverside and TruWeather are beginning our collaboration with actionable information about the Onion Creek watershed in Austin Texas as a showcase for the American Meteorological Society’s annual meeting in January 2018. This will demonstrate the synergy between RiverTrak’s flood inundation mapping, showcasing a scenario of an extreme flood event, and TruWeather’s alerting capabilities for an emergency management use case.

In addition, Riverside and TruWeather will begin collaborating on a solution incorporating both fine-scale weather forecast and alerting capabilities, and flood inundation mapping for the State of New York. TruWeather is a certified New York State SDVOSB and is one of very few addressing the complex weather needs in that area.

We are enthusiastic about this partnership and look forward to the many opportunities ahead as we continue to address the challenges of rapidly changing water and weather needs in our country and the world.

To learn more about TruWeather Solutions please visit: TruWeather Solutions. 

Bridge Sensor Installation on the Poudre River

Last week, on a beautiful Thursday morning in the Poudre Canyon, Riverside was excited to be a part of the installation of a Bridge Mounted River Stage Sensor on the North Poudre River near Bellvue, CO. Dan Ceynar, Project Engineer with the Iowa Flood Center (IFC), joined Riverside’s Product Manager Sean McFeely for this installation.

Sean McFeely (left) Product Manager for RiverTrak, assists Dan Ceynar (right) of Iowa Flood Center to install a Sensor on the Poudre River near Bellvue.

Sean McFeely (left) Product Manager for RiverTrak, assists Dan Ceynar (right) of Iowa Flood Center to install a Sensor on the Poudre River near Bellvue.

The IFC has done extensive research in the development of these sensors, and Riverside is incorporating them as data points to increase the reach and accuracy of flood inundation maps for our RiverTrak product. This gage is only the second of its kind to be used outside the State of Iowa. Not only will it deliver useful data to the local community, but it will also serve as a real-life testing ground for improved global flood modelling and forecasting technology.

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Riverside is proud of our collaboration between research facilities, private business, and local communities. We have partnered with the University of Iowa, Colorado State University, and the University of Kansas to create real-time flood inundation mapping that shows depths and extents in real-time and for forecasted rainfall. Our model incorporates the information from gages on the reach of the river, providing an accurate and comprehensive map. 

For additional coverage on the installation, the Fort Collins Coloradoan published a piece on October 8th with video interviews of both Sean McFeely and Dan Ceynar.

Riverside collaborates with CSU on RiverTrak and eRams.

Fort Collins is a beautiful community in Northern Colorado, home to both the corporate headquarters of Riverside Technology, inc. and Colorado State University (CSU). Since Riverside began operation in 1985, CSU, an academic leader in water resources engineering, has been a strong partner and supporter. Two of our board members received their doctorate and master’s degrees from CSU and many of our Fort Collins-headquartered team also hold CSU degrees.

CSU and Riverside share a goal to observe and advance our community and the world around us. The College of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Riverside both share a vision to provide solutions to complex environmental challenges. We have lived those goals through our partnership on many projects, ranging from research and development to alumni collaborations. Riverside is currently working with CSU’s College of Civil and Environmental Engineering department on advanced processing and networking of flood and river data.

Riverside’s RiverTrak® modeling technology rapidly generates flood inundation maps using real-time river data. CSU’s eRAMS is a powerful platform to build simulation models and analytical tools that can be accessed via desktop or mobile devices. The combined technologies create a powerful system to expand regional flood data networks, create timely and accurate flood maps, and provide analysis and communication tools to help protect life and property around the world.

The Engineering Building at CSU

The Engineering Building at CSU

Collaboration between Riverside Technology and Iowa Flood Center

When two organizations can come together and unite under a common goal, the whole is sometimes more than the sum of the parts. Such is the case in a recent partnership between Riverside Technology and the Iowa Flood Center (IFC), a state-funded entity within the IIHR Hydroscience & Engineering research unit of the University of Iowa College of Engineering.

The parts coming together include:

·         The 32-year history of Riverside providing innovative solutions to address the increasing demand for environmental decision support technologies in an ever-changing world.

·         IIHR, a world-renowned center for education, research, and public service focusing on hydraulic engineering and fluid mechanics.

·          IFC, which develops hydrologic models for physically-based flood frequency estimation and real-time forecasting of floods, including hydraulic models of flood plain inundation mapping, and assists in the development of a workforce in Iowa knowledgeable regarding flood research, prediction, and mitigation strategies.

Riverside, IIHR Hydroscience & Engineering, and the IFC have agreed to move forward in a relationship where hydrologic and hydraulic science/engineering will be supported by IIHR and IFC, and Riverside will reach out to customers of this information to support critical planning (strategic) and real-time (tactical) decisions.  IIHR and IFC bring more than a century of hydrologic/hydraulic/water resource expertise in the computerized collection and analysis of data by numerical modeling techniques, which has set the stage for a great diversity of capabilities ranging from model studies of specific hydraulic structures to computational fluid dynamics investigations of complex flow mechanisms.

The Riverside team traveled to Iowa in late May to work toward common goals in the future of flood mapping. (From left to right: Witold Krajewski, Director of IFC, Larry Weber, Director of IIHR, Brian Ashe, CEO Riverside Technology, George Smith, Director of NCEI & SEFSC Programs.

The Riverside team traveled to Iowa in late May to work toward common goals in the future of flood mapping. (From left to right: Witold Krajewski, Director of IFC, Larry Weber, Director of IIHR, Brian Ashe, CEO Riverside Technology, George Smith, Director of NCEI & SEFSC Programs.

Riverside and IIHR/IFC are collaborating on a pilot project for RiverTrak flood inundation maps on the Turkey River basin in northeastern Iowa.  RiverTrak rapidly produces dynamic maps of depths and extents of flooding and is customized to regional watersheds.  Maps are created and distributed based on the latest available observed and forecast river stage values from the NWS or private networks.  RiverTrak provides historical, real-time, and scenario maps that integrate with existing hazard mitigation efforts and systems.

To enhance the RiverTrak mapping capability, Riverside and Iowa are also working together to enhance and expand the application work done at the IFC for Monitoring Iowa’s Rivers and Streams in real-time. Iowa’s severe flooding in 2008 demonstrated the need for more extensive monitoring of the state’s rivers and streams in real time. To address this, the IFC developed and maintains a statewide network of stream stage sensors designed to measure stream height and transmit data automatically and frequently to the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS), where one can view the sensor locations and data in real-time.  The sensors provide an affordable, effective way to measure stream and river heights. The sensors are solar powered and attached to the side of bridges. A sonar signal is used to measure the distance from the water surface to the sensor and data is transmitted via a cell modem to IFIS where the data are publicly available.  The IFC currently maintains a network of over 200 stream stage sensors across the state.

Riverside is looking to expand the use/coverage of these stream sensors to provide additional river information in locations currently under-served by other national or local networks.  A test implementation is being conducted in Larimer County and the City of Fort Collins in Colorado.  Riverside and IFC are partnering to provide a full set of marketing, enhancements, and maintenance capabilities for and additional stream sensor users.

The Riverside/IIHR Hydroscience & Engineering/IFC collaboration provides a full-service team based in innovative water science and proven customer service to expand and support planning and real-time water resource decision needs.

Additional information about the Iowa Flood Center can be found at their website: http://iowafloodcenter.org/.

Riverside to offer drone services

By Ian Hageman, GIS Specialist and FAA certified remote pilot; and Sean McFeely, Product Manager

The use of unmanned systems (a.k.a. drone, UAS, UAV) has increased rapidly over the past few years. This growth has increased even more over the past couple of months as the FAA has relaxed requirements and regulations for commercial drone operation in August of 2016.

The use of UAS (unmanned aerial systems) is a cutting edge, low cost, and high efficiently platform for data. Unlike data collection with the typical satellite or manned aircraft, UAS offers on demand, and timely results. These results can often times be same day. Riverside is excited to be at the forefront of this technology and now offers a portfolio of drone services.

Some of these drone services include:

  • High resolution aerial imagery (between 3-10 cm spatial resolution)
  • High resolution elevation models (DEM, DSM, contours, 3D point cloud)
  • Floodplain mapping
  • Flood monitoring (pre/post flood aerial videos and photos)
  • Volumetric calculations (erosion, deposition, quarry/landfill)
  • Infrastructure inspection (Full HD video inspection of bridges, dams, infrastructure)
  • Agricultural mapping (vegetation mapping, crop analysis, NDVI)

One of the most exciting uses of the drone technology is the ability to update existing and outdated datasets. The landscape and topography of the Earth is dynamic, and is constantly changing over time with rivers changing course, erosion, deposition, and construction projects. With drones, the ability to continuously update these surfaces yields more accurate results and rendering of the current landscape. For example, say that you have an elevation model of a river corridor through a community that was created 5 years ago. Say this community got flooded 2 years ago and there have been some river mitigation and construction work since the flood to prevent future flooding. With the use of Riverside’s UAS, Riverside can now go fly the areas that were newly constructed, process the data and incorporate this new elevation surface into the already existing elevation surface. Depending on the size of the area, this can even be done same day with mapping grade accuracy!

Riverside is excited to now offer this cutting edge technology as a service, and Ian Hageman (GIS Specialist and FAA certified remote pilot) is on staff in Fort Collins, CO to assist in all drone and UAS needs and support.

RTI International acquires Water Resource Engineering division of Riverside Technology.

Riverside Technology, inc. to maintain current Federal scientific support contracts

Riverside Technology, inc. has reached a merger agreement with RTI International, wherein RTI has acquired the Fort Collins based consulting division of Riverside. This division provides water resources management and engineering services to clients worldwide. The non-consultation portion of Riverside will continue to be based in Fort Collins, CO and serve its Federal customers including NOAA, USGS, US Fish and Wildlife, USDA, and others with scientific support services.

RTI is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and has a staff of approximately 4,700 that provides research and technical services to governments and businesses in more than 75 countries. The acquisition will bring the specialized expertise and services of Riverside’s water resource engineers and RTI’s proven research and implementation capabilities together.

“We are excited to join an excellent and reputable organization that shares our mission-driven approach and core values,” said former Riverside CEO and new RTI Division Vice President Larry Brazil, Ph.D. “Together, our enhanced capacity will position us to expand our service offerings in the vital arena of water resources management in support of solving the world’s most challenging water, land and climate problems. This also presents an opportunity for the remaining Riverside team to grow the company in new directions.”

“Riverside will continue providing the support services our customers have come to expect from us as well as maintaining the highest levels of customer service,” said new Riverside CEO Brian Ashe. “We are very excited for the future direction of Riverside and the opportunities in front of us. We have an excellent team in place at Riverside and we will move ahead as a company focused on providing superior services to our Federal customer base.”

Riverside Technology, inc. launches RiverTrak: A real-time flood inundation mapping system

Riverside Technology, inc. launches RiverTrak: A real-time flood inundation mapping system

Riverside Technology, inc. is pleased to announce the official launch of the RiverTrak Flood Inundation Mapping System. RiverTrak's unique process rapidly produces maps in real-time, provides forecast maps, and offers a library of scenario maps. These maps give a high resolution visual of historical floods, current floods and conditions, and floods that may occur in the future.

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