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Indigenous-developed technology can predict the damage of natural disasters

By Joe Thomson May 7, 2023 | 7:55 PM

Flooding in New Brunswick during Hurricane Fiona (Photo: TDCB)

A new technology developed by Indigenous innovators is being rolled out to address climate change.

The 3D wave design is an adaptive tool that allows anyone with a computer or mobile phone to map out and predict the effects of different natural disasters.

The technology was developed by Barry Stevens in collaboration with his son. Stevens is a member of Acadia First Nation and has a background in business and electronic design. He says the 3D wave design will help communities prepare for worst case scenario events.

“It will show you where the water will be with… that will clarify if your roads are going to be near coverage or underwater. It will also show you how far we’ll go inland because many times people think that since they’re a ways back from shore that they’re safe. That’s not true,” said Stevens.

Barry Stevens introduces the 3D Wave Design at the Land Environment and Economic Capacity Summit. (Photo: Joe Thomson)

The tool lets users input a handful of variables, from tide level, to wind speeds to the actual amount of storm surge that a hurricane might produce, and then it maps out the devastation using 3D modelling. Stevens says that many people who are further from shore automatically think they’re safe from flooding when in many cases they might not be.

“The town of Lunenburg is one example of that, where some new infrastructure was built, including the town fire hall and the new school, all built on a floodplain. And you cannot see the ocean from there. But once it gets to a certain point, it’s [the water] coming in,” said Stevens.

The tool can also map the paths of wildfires. Stevens is excited about the educational ability that the tool has to show emergency services what will happen in the case of a fire. He says that Indigenous communities especially can benefit from it.

“In many of our communities, there’s an issue of capacity. Because we’re small, we don’t have the critical mass of larger towns and cities. So we don’t always have people on staff that would necessarily have the education or the training. We bring the science down to the user in a way they can understand and use readily and quickly,” said Stevens.

To learn more about the 3D Wave Design, visit their website.

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