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Environment Agency picks CGI to deliver new English flood forecasting system

David Bicknell Published 10 January 2017

New system under three year, £5m deal expected to help agency improve its flood forecasting capability more simply and effectively


The Environment Agency has picked CGI to design, deliver and run its Future Flood Forecasting System (FFFS).

The £5m, three-year contract will make use of Cloud based systems to enable the agency to produce and share flood forecasts and products more efficiently and effectively. The agency expects the overall system to be easier and more cost effective to maintain and develop in light of its future needs.

The FFFS is also intended to beef up the productivity of forecasters, through a better user experience and less need for manual intervention. The new system is expected to improve the quality and lead time of forecasting products, thus increasing the ability of communities, utilities and flood risk management authorities to take more effective action to combat the impact of floods.

The new system is also intended to be highly resilient and easily configurable, scaling quickly in times of flooding and maximising the use of data analysis technologies to improve the quality and accuracy of flood forecasts.

“We are absolutely committed to increasing the timeliness, accuracy and usefulness of our flood forecasts in order to improve our response to flooding, and the Future Flood Forecasting System will play a key role.  It will bring together regional systems into a single national system to make it quicker and easier to monitor forecasts and provide our experts with more time to analyse the data and communicate with our teams on the ground,” said Craig Woolhouse, deputy director of flood incident management at the Environment Agency. 

“This is a data-centric, mission-critical system and CGI is proud to have been selected to develop it.  We are implementing the very best technologies, and developing using an agile methodology, to ensure that the system evolves regularly and absolutely reflects the needs of users,” added Elwyn Jones, vice president of UK Central Government and Justice at CGI. “We have married our own capabilities with extensive hydrology expertise from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the latest innovations from British SME, Mapcite.  This solution will digitally transform the way floods are forecasted across the country”

The FFFS will be based on CGI’s Digital Insight Platform, and run on Microsoft’s Azure Cloud to be able to offer improved scalability in times of peak data processing demand during extreme weather and flood conditions. 

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