Municipal Innovation Council provides Smart Beach update

The project lead for the Municipal Innovation Council (MIC) Smart Beach project has provided an update on the work to create a better warning system for beach users on the Great Lakes.

Dr. Chris Houser spoke to Kincardine Council on Wednesday night.  He outlined how his team is using innovative technologies to collect and analyze water and weather conditions.  The project is using that analysis to develop a system to provide beachgoers – as well as local Emergency Services – with real-time information on local water conditions, including rough surf and rip currents.

Wednesday night’s update showed the progress made through 2023 (Year 2) on the research & development that will guide the project’s implementation in 2024 (Year 3).

Dr. Houser showed how his team:

  • Conducted physical and social surveys,
  • Implemented machine learning models,
  • Created a locally calibrated model for waves and currents,
  • Used data to provide significant insight on beach-user behaviour, as well as the timing and location of surf-related hazards.

Dr. Houser also outlined next steps for 2024, including:

  • Modelling weather and offshore wave data
  • Collaborating with Georgian College to create a predictive model of wave and current conditions based on all possible combinations,
  • Creating a crowd-sourced assessment of inshore wave and current conditions in support of a warning system, and then,
  • Collaborating with Georgian College to implement and test that system, as well as a warning and prediction platform.
“We are excited to collaborate with Dr. Houser in developing the Smart Beach application,” said MIC Chair Kara Van Myall. “This work proves that, by working together, our municipalities provide effective and innovative ways to protect our residents and visitors to our communities.”
The Smart Beach project is a three-year pilot project that the MIC launched at Station Beach in Kincardine . The first of its kind in North America, this innovative technology combined with public education and awareness provides a unique service to residents, visitors and newcomers to our beaches.

You can view Dr. Houser’s presentation HERE.

About Municipal Innovation Council:  The Municipal Innovation Council (MIC) was established in 2020 when eight municipalities in the County of Bruce came together to find savings, efficiencies and deliver services better to their residents — all with the goal of building smarter, stronger, more resilient communities.  MIC’s commitment to its members includes LEARNING from experts as well as leveraging municipal expertise and our own strengths, COLLABORATING with our peers and colleagues, listen to industry, work with experts and understand that change is critical and TRANSFORMING the way our municipalities do business and embracing the opportunity to transform and grow.