Five smart sensors to be installed in Calder Valley for citizen-science flood monitoring project.

Halifax, UK, 26th September 2017 — Open-source and technical communities consultancy AB Open and citizen science initiative Flood Network have jointly announced their partnership to install Internet of Things (IoT) river level sensors in the Upper Calder Valley, designed to collect data which can be used to provide early warnings of incoming flood conditions and provide key insights to help prevent flooding in the future.

The Calderdale region has suffered from severe flooding over the years, with a report from the University of Leeds totalling the economic impact of the 2015 Boxing Day floods at £170 million1. The Internet of Things has the potential to lessen the damage caused by these floods by providing wider access to finer-grained water level data than is available through government-led measures, and the partnership between AB Open and Flood Network will bring that potential to the Calderdale region for the first time this year.

The joint project will see five sensors using ultrasonic technology to measure water levels in rivers installed by the end of 2017, with full support through to the end of 2018 at a minimum. Following their installation, the sensors will communicate the water level data through Things Calderdale, a regional branch of The Things Network founded and initially funded by AB Open, using the licence-free low-power and long-range LoRaWAN radio standard.

“This is in part about contributing to the local community, which has been severely hit by flooding over the years, and in part an attempt to stimulate innovation in IoT projects in the region,” explains Andrew Back, managing director of AB Open, of the project. “We’re thrilled to be working with Flood Network on this project, which is sharing its expertise as one of the world’s leading citizen-driven IoT flood monitoring programmes.”

Flood Network is a prime example of how citizens can use IoT technology to make their own towns and cities smarter rather than waiting for governments to act, and we’re looking forward to expanding the project’s reach to the Calder Valley to help more people stay informed both about flood risk and about the benefits of IoT,” adds Ben Ward, Founder of Flood Network. “AB Open’s work on bringing LoRaWAN network coverage to the region will be key in being able to deploy the sensors and capture their data.”

AB Open is to provide the flood sensor hardware and facilitate its installation, while Flood Network is providing a 12-month subscription to its tailor-made data platform which automatically corrects the incoming data for environmental conditions and graphs the results onto a freely-accessible map. Following the installation of the sensors both companies will develop novel hardware and software applications designed to build on the data, creating additional utility and facilitating widespread access to the data.

The project builds on the original Flood Network, first installed in flood-prone Oxford, and on work carried out in Calderdale by AB Open as part of the IoTUK Boost programme which seeks to drive IoT innovation throughout the UK. In particular, the sensors will make use of a IoTUK Boost-funded LoRaWAN access point installed by AB Open in the iconic Wainhouse Tower, a site which provides the radio with good coverage over the Calder Valley.

More information on the Calderdale LoRaWAN network and the IoTUK Boost programme can be found on the official website at

More information on Flood Network, along with access to the sensor data and its live water level map platform, can be found on the official website at


AB Open is an open source and technical communities consultancy specialising in embedded and wireless systems, based in Halifax, West Yorkshire. AB Open’s clients include semiconductor companies, component distributors, equipment vendors, and service providers.


Flood Network is a citizen science initiative supported by Nominet UK, Thing Innovations and IoTUK Boost to install and monitor low-cost smart water level sensors based on Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, providing both governments and citizenry with detailed information for flood detection, early warning, and ultimately flood prevention.


LoRaWAN is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) with features that support low-cost, mobile, and secure bi-directional communication for Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M), and smart city, and industrial applications. LoRaWAN is optimised for low power consumption and is designed to support large networks with millions and millions of devices.


Andrew Back
AB Open
Unit C5, Tenterfields Business Park
Tel: +44 (0)7976 278735


1Economic Impact Assessment of the Boxing Day Floods (2015) on SMEs in the Borough of Calderdale, Dr. Paola Sakai, Anne Holdsworth, and Stephen Curry.