European Flood Awareness System and COMMpla: Now allowing MapViewer users to easily monitor and forecast European Flood Data


The European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) is the first operational European system monitoring and forecasting floods across Europe. And now it has the added bonus of a new portal and MapViewer.

It provides pan-European overview maps of flood probabilities up to 15 days in advance, seasonal streamflow outlooks up to 4 months ahead and showing flash flood risk.

In 2017 COMMpla was engaged by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), which runs the EFAS Computational centre and hosts the web interface for the EFAS Information System, in the development of the new European Flood Awareness System (EFAS-IS) portal and innovative MapViewer

The EFAS-IS web portal that COMMpla developed is composed of two principal areas:

  1. A public area, developed in Drupal 8, that is the new front-end for the EFAS-IS public web site;
  2. A reserved area for accessing services such as the Map Viewer, the notifications, the dashboard etc..

The EFAS Map Viewer is a dynamic web application developed in Angular, one of the most popular open-source Javascript frameworks. It allows users to compare, visualise and analyse flood events, flood forecasts and the related geo-datasets, to add external or local data, to plot maps, charts, etc..

A Drupal module was developed (in PHP) specifically to function as a backend for the MapViewer, which enabled the following features:

  • Swift migration of the entire app without hard coding;
  • Receipt and processing of requests from the MapViewer (Angular) via RestFull API, as well as their transfer to the Django backend;
  • Authentication on the MapViewer with Django and Drupal sessions evading current user data, roles and permissions.

The main achievements of this new platform were:

  • The development of an on-demand mapping component that provides rapid risk recovery maps for prevention and planning (including embeddable MapViewer).
  • The creation of warning and monitoring components for the prevention and control of possible floods.

COMMpla developed EFAS with a modular architecture to make sure it would be possible possible to add new features in the future without having to modify the general structure of the project.
Now COMMpla has signed a new contract with ECMWF to implement a series of improvements and develop new features to the EFAS-IS MapVisualisation Platform, such as, for example, the “implementation of the flash floods feedback feature”, the new “search features on all feedback released and not only on the feedback displayed on the page” or the “possibility to send a reminder to users to release feedback on a specific event”.

This builds on the previous work COMMpla conducted with ECMWF.

Thanks to COMMpla’s support to ECMWF, forecasters will be able to use an improved version of the EFAS web platform to support preparatory measures before major flood events strike throughout Europe.