SC State researcher to present study on real-time flood system at IEEE symposium

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dr. Tom Whitney, researcher for SC State University’s 1890 Research & Extension Program, will present a paper at the 2009 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, July 12-17 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Whitney’s topic, “Evaluation of South African Radar and Remote Sensed Surface Parameters to Predict Flooding in Botswana,” will address the use of precipitation data from satellite terrain models and land use models to predict flooding.

According to Whitney, Botswana experienced within the last decade devastating flooding caused by several extreme weather conditions like tropical cyclones. Consequently, hundreds of lives were lost and extensive road flooding occurred, severing north-south highway connections.

To establish an early flood warning system for Botswana, the country’s government agencies and U.S. federal agencies began efforts to add and upgrade Botswana’s gauging stations to near real-time capabilities.

“Now with the establishment of a precipitation RADAR network in South Africa and Botswana, it has become feasible to apply hydrology models to the problem of real-time monitoring of flooding,” said Whitney, also a civil and mechanical engineering technology professor. “In the long-run, this technology will help save lives and reduce economic losses,” he continued.

The presentation is part of the results of a research project entitled “Development of a Real-Time GIS/Hydrology Flood Warning System for First Responders in Rural Areas in South Carolina,” which was funded through SC State’s 1890 Research & Extension.

In addition to Dr. Whitney, the research team includes Dr. Stephen Katzberg, adjunct professor; Dr. Yuanchang Xie, assistant professor; Dr. Di-Wen Chen, assistant professor; Maria Hubbard, senior research analyst, all from the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Otukile Lekote and Dirk Francis, both graduate students in the Master of Science transportation program.

For more information on real-time flood system research, contact Dr. Whitney at (803) 536-8948 or Additional information on 1890 Research is available by calling (803) 536-8971 or