IWM has a long history of implementing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Geographic Information System (GIS) along with mathematical modeling tools and techniques for providing professional services in the field of Integrated Water Resources Management. The division started its journey as a unit back in 1994, at the beginning of Surface Water Simulation Modelling Project Phase-III. Since then it has been successfully providing its service to the other divisions of IWM as well as to external clients in the field of water sectors. Over the years it has gained experience on providing ICT-GIS solutions to different public and private organizations. As time goes on the demand of this unit had been increasing from both in-house and to the external clients.
The unit gained experiences with good reputation in the fields of development of Detail Topographic maps, Digital Elevation Models, Flood/Inundation Maps etc. using the state of the art tools & technologies. It also contributed in the national development projects by developing national databases, Interactive Information Systems, Decision Support Systems for different public organizations. Currently, there are huge demands of ICT-GIS based solutions in national decision making for achieving Governments Vision 2021. Considering the present and future demands and business evolving both at home and abroad—IWM Management decided to convert the unit as a complete division. Accordingly, the ICT-GIS division headed by a Director has been approved by the Board of Trustees (BOT) in April 2016. Recently, Dr. Mollah Md. Awlad Hossain has joined as the Director of this Division. Dr. Hossain has a long experience and reputation in application of ICT and GIS in fields of Water, Land, Environment and Smart Technologies.
ICT-GIS Division is now comprised of very strong, experienced, and devoted professionals capable of providing solutions in the following area at the level of international standards.
ICT-GIS Division consists of the following field of expertise with highly experienced professionals:
Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) builds and maintains hundreds of schemes on water management, flood control, drainage and irrigation, and bank protection works which contribute to the national development goals for food security, flood and erosion safety, social wellbeing and economic growth. Still the information of those schemes are preserved in hardcopies and managed manually. The planning, budgeting and monitoring activities relating to the schemes and projects are regular activities of BWDB. To make these more efficient, there is no alternative to make the system digital—harnessing the power of ICT at optimal level. Also, to be in-line with the national objective of “digital Bangladesh” BWDB has to step into the digital highway with all its activities. As part of this target, BWDB took initiative to build a digital smart scheme information system (Smart-SIMS).
During 2003-04, BWDB developed an inventory of schemes under Water Management Improvement Project (WMIP). Extending that inventory, “Scheme Management Information System (SIMS)” was developed during 2008-14 under the same WMIP project which was developed as a strand alone application with little GIS interface covering 630 numbers of completed schemes spreading over 8 BWDB zones.
Many of the data and information including maps, topography, drawings, structural information, budget allocations, contracts etc. are still to be incorporated in the scheme database. Furthermore, on-going and new projects are also need to be integral part of the system.
On the other hand, ICT technology has advanced remarkably by this time. Integration of web, smart devices (smart phone, tablets, IP-camera etc.) and remote access and monitoring through wired/wireless communication opened new era for digital management and monitoring in more transparent and efficient manner.
Considering above issues and facilities BWDB took initiative to update the existing SIMS to Smart-SIMS which will be an integrated web based smart GIS application for operation and monitoring the activities of the schemes. The Smart-SIMS will have the facilities (1) to visualize the schemes through interactive GIS maps with google backdrops, (2) remote view of the on-going activities through IP-Camera integrated in the web application, (3) historic data including documents, photos and videos, (4) Plan of activities with physical and financial progress, and (5) BWDB asset information including vehicle tracking and lands. Smart device application will be developed to collect field data from the schemes that will directly upload the collected data to the central database when connected to 3G mobile networks.
Currently IWM is working to develop Smart-SIMS for only South-Eastern zone of BWDB covering an area of 21,700 sq.km of Chittagong, Khagrachhari, Rangamati, Bandarban and Cox’s Bazar districts under a contract which is targeted to be completed by June 2016. This will be expanded to entire Bangladesh phase by phase to bring all the schemes under Smart-SIMS. Implementation of Smart-SIMS will ultimately be a long step towards the national dream for “Digital Bangladesh”.
Climate change induced disasters due to global warming are becoming major threat to Bangladesh. Flood is most recurring event that cause disasters frequently. To address the flood disaster one non-structural measure is flood forecasting. The Flood Forecasting & Warning Center (FFWC) of Bangladesh Water Development Board manually collectsdata (water level data and rainfall data) from gauge readers and produces forecasted flood levels at selected locations spread over the country. In existing manual system, thegauge readers inform water level and rainfall data to FFWC officials through phone calls which arethen written by pen in the register books, and entered into the computer to run the forecasting models. This was time consuming operation and also prone to errors. Moreover, in this process flood forecast could be generated only once in a day because of longer time required for data collection and computerization. To reduce data collection time and increase data accuracy, quality and forecast twice a day FFWC with financial support from Islamic Relief initiated a project forautomation of data collection and dissemination of forecast results in Bangla SMS to the gauge readers as well as to the local community. IWM provided the ICT based technical support to develop the said SMS solution.
In the developed system, each gauge reader has a mobile phone and they collect water level and rainfall data which are sent through SMS in a prescribed format to FFWC. An SMS Solution app for android has beendeveloped where data is received and converted to text format. Text formatted data is transferred to PC from android phone. All data is imported to SMS Solution software, thenthose are processed and stored in database server. User can view the station wise water level data and/or rainfall data in chart/graph format or in tabular format. Pre-processed data is exported for running flood forecast model, and flood bulletin can be generated from this data. Taking output from the forecast model post-process is carried out to generate forecast SMS in Bangla as well in English. Flood forecast warning SMS in Bangla are sent to the respective gauge reader to disseminate to the local community.