The Environmental Risk Management Information Service (ERMIS-F), a Greece-Cyprus Interreg-funded project developed an online Environmental Risk Management Information Service, was recently promoted at the official website of the European Union (here). The Cyprus Institute, University of the Aegean, Polytechnic of Crete, Chania Municipality, North Aegean Water Directorate, and Lemesos Sewage Board developed https://ermis-f.eu/, an online service that turns scientific knowledge about floods into actionable policy.
This project aims to help bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and public action regarding flooding, and provides the business, policy and scientific communities, and the general public, with tools such as risk maps, early warning systems, climate change projections, and social network facilities. Pilot early warning systems, crowdsourcing real-time pictorial information, a special-purpose social network, and flood-risk mapping tools all promote a scientifically based dialogue among all interested parties.
Prof. Thanasis Hadzilacos, CyI Adjunct Professor and Scientific Coordinator noted that “ERMIS-F project focuses on the risk of floods in the particularly vulnerable eastern Mediterranean islands of the Aegean, Crete, and Cyprus. By bringing together scientists, professionals, public authorities, policy makers, environmental organisations, and the general public, and providing information, awareness, and education, we turn a common responsibility into personal and collective action”.
A Multi-Faceted Tool
The platform is used to collect and publish environmental risk assessment information. This is presented in the form of statistical maps, real-time information – provided by early warning autonomous field systems and the general public – long-term risk assessments, and high-resolution modelling. There is also information on regulations, prevention measures, and relevant projects the public can use to mitigate and survive environmental disasters. Another popular feature is an integrated social network that allows citizens to access scientific information.
By including early warning systems, crowdsourced photos, a social network specifically for flood risks, and a range of essential flood-risk maps and tools, the ERMIS-F platform uses information to guide action. The project organised over 50 initiatives aimed at raising awareness about the risk of climate-change induced flooding. These included workshops on using the platform; flood-themed treasure hunts, fun videos, and quizzes for students of all ages; and an educational game for families. The platform’s distributed architecture means it can be easily replicated in other regions, for other environmental risks, and for private research and policy-making purposes.