Training: Monitoring and Early Warning for Floods

Date: 4-5 Nov, 2022

Location: Accra International Conference Centre, Meeting Room 2, Accra Ghana

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This training brings together partners: SERVIR Science and Coordination Office and SERVIR Eastern and Southern Africa hub, Spatial Informatics Group (SIG) and Digital Earth Africa (DE Africa) through the partnership of AfriGEO and Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) to deliver a training that aims to introduce various geospatial data infrastructure options available to researchers and decision-makers and to explore uses of different Earth observation tools to address floods challenges experienced all over Africa.

SERVIR is a joint program of NASA, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and leading geospatial organizations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.The program exists to help communities address environmental challenges with the use of Earth observing satellites. It has regional hubs across the world, including SERVIR Eastern and Southern Africa located at the Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) in Nairobi, Kenya.

DE Africa works to empower countries across Africa with Earth observation to enable climate adaptation and mitigation, greater food security, and more sustainable development. DE Africa provides routine, reliable and operational services to deliver decision-ready products enabling policy makers, scientists, the private sector, and civil society to address social, environmental, and economic changes on the continent and develop an ecosystem for innovation across sectors.

Floods and drought are the most prevalent hydro-meteorological disaster in Africa with significant impact on the economy and livelihood of many communities. Heavy rains and flooding have continued to compound an already fragile humanitarian situation and worsening conditions for communities who also endure long periods of drought in the region. Lack of advanced monitoring and early warning systems in the region exacerbates the situation further. Community preparedness in the wake of a disaster increases their resilience and preparedness.  Earth observation data can be used to improve community preparedness and resilience by supporting early action. The availability of flood early warning in flood prone regions with sufficient lead time can give communities time to take no regret action in their preparedness. GEOGloWS ECMWF Streamflow Hydroviewer, which uses satellite and metrological forcing to run hydrological models in forecast mode to give streamflow data at different river reaches all over the world, and GLoFAS, which provides forecasts on selected regions and rivers, are two early warning tools that will be presented.

Near real time flood extent mapping is also important for informing emergency response activities, as well as planning for future disasters. The HYDRAFloods tool developed by the SERVIR Science Coordination Office and SERVIR Mekong will be presented. This tool can incorporate data from multiple satellite sources to create accurate and near-real time flood extent maps. It has been applied in other regions of the world and may hold promise for Africa. DE Africa complements the existing efforts by SERVIR program with the water observation from space (WOfS), which shows water variability over time for Africa, and is impactful to inform integrated watershed management policies. In this session, DE Africa will showcase flood monitoring in Lokoja, Nigeria with AFRIGIST using Sentinel 1 in CEOS Analysis Ready Data (ARD) .

In addition to presentations of different tools for flood monitoring and early warning, this training will include an introduction to different geospatial data infrastructure options currently available, and some of the pros and cons associated with each. This general discussion is of interest to users across different thematic areas, and will be complemented by the presentation of Earth observation tools specific to water and floods. The objectives of the training are to improve the awareness of different stakeholders of different geospatial data infrastructure options and Earth observation tools, as well as increase their capacity  to use different tools available for monitoring floods and to inform early action and preparedness. 

Training Objectives

The following are the objectives of the training:

  1. Understanding of Community challenges related to floods;
  2. Introduce decision-makers to different geospatial data infrastructure options available;  
  3. To improve the awareness of stakeholders on available tools for flood monitoring and flood early warning: HYDRAFloods, GEOGloWS-CBFEWS, ECMWF, WOfS, etc.
  4. To improve their capacity on the use of existing tools for decision making using showcases:


       DE Africa Tools for Flood mapping;

       Value of data integration of In-situ and EO data to supplement existing data gaps;

       Use of SAR data in mapping spatial extent of floods;

       Integration with biophysical data (population, infrastructure, housing, health facilities, WASH facilities) to make analysis of resources and people affected.

  1. Linkages with forecast based financing.


Pre-Requisites (not mandatory but recommended)

        Google Earth Engine account

        Digital Earth Africa Maps, Sandbox 


The Trainers

Dr. David Saah - Spatial Informatics Group

Dr. Saah has been broadly trained as an environmental scientist with expertise in several areas, including landscape ecology, ecosystem ecology, hydrology, geomorphology, ecosystem modeling, natural hazard modeling, remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and geospatial analysis. He has used these skills to conduct research primarily at the landscape level in various systems. Dr. Saah has participated in research projects throughout the United States and Internationally. His academic research uses integrated geospatial science for multi-scale mapping, monitoring, and modeling environmental spatial heterogeneity, particularly in riparian, savanna, and forest ecosystems. These efforts include quantifying change in landscape patterns, investigating the linkages between pattern and processes, and understanding the pattern–process dynamics within different environmental management regimes. To complement this, Dr. Saah's consulting research interest and experience include developing holistic decision support systems for resource management, assessing natural hazards, and quantifying ecosystem service valuation. In addition, his research addresses access, availability, and accuracy of geospatial and environmental datasets and scales in natural resource and environmental research. Dr. Saah is committed to producing high-quality research projects that integrate the most current science and technology. He is dedicated to accurately disseminating results from these endeavors through innovative presentations, publications, and workshops.

Edward Boamah - Digital Earth Africa (DE Africa) 

Edward Boamah is the Technical Manager for Digital Earth Africa, where he supports institutions and countries within Africa to make use of the Analysis Ready Earth Observation data for impact and decision making from highly technical professionals to government, policymakers and civil society to embrace DE Africa. Edward is most passionate about sharing how EO can be used for managing water, understanding deforestation impacts and informing city planning and urbanization, but sees EO being used by everyone and anyone because of how easily accessible it will be.

Dr. Kenneth Mubea - Digital Earth Africa (DE Africa)

Dr.Kenneth Mubea is the Capacity Development Lead, Digital Earth Africa. Kenneth's role includes technical support and user engagement and support, driving usage of the DE Africa services and engaging with the DE Africa network of partners across Africa. Kenneth sees that a time has come that earth observation will be the critical means for decision making for countries and regional bodies in Africa towards the sustainable management of resources. 

Calvince Wara - RCMRD / SERVIR Eastern & Southern Africa (SERVIR E&SA)

Calvince Wara is the Thematic Lead Water and Hydro-climatic Disaster for SERVIR Eastern and Southern Africa hub. He leads the development of tools and programmes for water resources monitoring, planning and management including early warning for hydro-climatic disaster preparedness and risk reduction. He holds a Master of Science in Water Resources Engineering from KU Leuven, Belgium and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from University of Nairobi, Kenya. Calvince is most passionate about the application of Earth Observations and technologies to water resources management.

Jacob Abramowitz - SERVIR Science Coordination Office (SERVIR SCO)

Jacob Abramowitz is the West Africa Regional Science Associate at the SERVIR Science Coordination Office in Huntsville, Alabama, USA. In this role Jacob works closely with the SERVIR West Africa Hub to use Earth observation and geospatial technology to improve environmental decision making in the region. He has a bachelor’s degree in Geography from Binghamton University and a master’s degree in Earth System Science from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

James Wanjohi Nyaga - RCMRD/ SERVIR Eastern & Southern Africa (SERVIR E&SA)

James Wanjohi of RCMRD, is a GIS and RS technician with expertise in analysis of bulk EO data and retrievals of various parameters of interests and the running of WRF model for the analysis of extreme weather events such as floods. He has overall expertise in the design of web applications for decision making, stakeholder mapping and engagements, and various project implementation.

Dr. Michael Souffront is the lead developer of the GEOGloWS ECMWF Streamflow Service and a Tethys platform developer for Aquaveo. He specializes in modeling workflow automation and in developing data visualization solutions including web and mobile applications. He completed a Ph.D. at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA with an emphasis on Hydroinformatic. Dr. Souffront is leading efforts for the implementation of standards in GEOGloWS to improve data accessibility and interoperability by integrating EDR API standard and the PYGEOAPI into the GEOGloWS ECMWF Streamflow Service REST API. Dr. Souffront has led projects related to the GEOGloWS service in many countries worldwide, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Somalia, and the Ivory Coast.

Dr. Angelica Gutierrez is an experienced senior scientist and Engineer with a strong interdisciplinary background in physical sciences. She is a senior scientist in the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with a demonstrated leadership and management history in government and multilateral sectors. Dr. Gutierrez is recognized for her outstanding contributions to designing and executing strategies for the Intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Global Water Sustainability Initiative GEOGloWS and the regional GEO in the Americas, AmeriGEO.


Training Agenda





Friday November 4, 2022

9:00 - 9:15

Arrival and Welcome



9:15 - 10:30

Overview of Geospatial Data Infrastructure (Part 1)

Dr. David Saah


10:30- 11:00

Tea Break




Overview of Geospatial Data Infrastructure (Part 2)

Dr. David Saah



Tool Highlight: SERVIR E&SA



Calvince Wara



12:30- 12:45

Case study: Climate based financing

Samuel Gamma


12:45- 14:00

Lunch break



14:00- 15:00

Tool Highlight: DE Africa


Water observations from space (WOfS) service on DE Africa Sandbox and DE Africa Map

Edward Boamah

Dr. Kenneth Mubea


15:00- 15:30

Tool Highlight: SERVIR E&SA


SAR on GEE, integration with other data

James Wanjohi Nyaga


15:30 - 16:00

Day 1 Wrap Up







Saturday November 5, 2022

9:00 - 10:00

Tool Highlight: SERVIR SCO



Jacob Abramowitz


10:00 - 10:20

Linkages with Climate Based Financing

Calvince Wara



10:20 - 10:30

Overview of GEOGLOWS (What’s New)

Angelica Gutierrez and Michael Souffront


10:30 - 11:00

Tea Break



11:00- 11:30

Discussion on community challenges related to floods

Calvince Wara

James Wanjohi Nyaga


11:30 - 12:15

Question and Answer Session



12:15 - 12:45

Day 2 Wrap Up

Closing Remarks




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