World of Wild Waters – Gamification of Natural Hazards (WoWW)

World of Wild Waters – Gamification of Natural Hazards

WoWW focus on gamification of natural hazards and aim at bringing together knowledge on physical and statistical behavior of Natural Hazards with knowledge on digital storytelling and human behavior to create immersive user experiences based on real data, realistic scenarios and simulations. Experiences to be used as basis for preventive and emergency measures to safe live and cost. WoWW aim at being the future tool for analyzing and communicating cause and effect of potential Natural Hazards as floods and landslides.

WoWW is one of the nine NTNU Digital Transformation projects.

Project description

Project description

Illustration workpackagesExtreme weather events, natural disasters and failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation are the risks with the highest likelihood of occurrence and largest global impact (World Economic Forum, 2017). According to the Natural Perils Pool the direct compensations over the 10 last years due to Natural Hazards (NH) have costed Norway alone 27 Billion NOK and the Public Sector even more. The responsibility for adaption strategies, to map the risks and prevent and reduce the threat and damages, are scattered. Events over the recent year have shown that there is an urgent need for a holistic perspective and coordination across sectorial boundaries. The aim of World of Wild Waters is to create a holistic understanding of cause and effect of NH by creating an immersive user experience based on real data, realistic scenarios and simulations. Experiences stakeholders, planners, decision makers and emergency agencies can base their preventive and emergency measures at to safe live and cost.  

To increase preparedness in the society to a wetter and wilder climate we will “Use digital tools and methods to transform how Risk Assessment and Management of Natural Hazards are approached and handled in Risk and Vulnerability analysis, in prevention of damages and during critical events and crisis when they occur”. 

This will be done by:

  • Creating an immersive and participatory user experience for deeper understanding of the Natural Hazard through use of new digital media, especially Augmented/Virtual/Mixed Realities (AVR) 
  • Using gamification and Natural User Interfaces (NUI) for understanding and learning impact of human influence on Natural Hazard events. 
  • Develop methods and content for realistic scenarios the users can test or be exposed too and scenarios for development of the event based on the user's choices. 
  • Develop methods for realistic physical dynamic behaviour of the system dependent on user response. 
  • Develop a training system to handle critical situation and psychological stress factors.  

This will be done to:

  • Increase the understanding among planners and decision makers of the process creating the natural hazard and impact of preventive measures through illustrating cause and consequence and the physical behaviour of the system in a realistic immersive user experience. 
  • Move focus from repair to mitigation investments to save direct and indirect societal costs.  

Level of impact and excellence

There are no tools or methods nationally nor internationally that realistically connect the different factors influencing the causes, development and potential consequences of Natural Hazards. This includes all from meteorological, hydrological and geotechnical conditions to the effect of human influence through constructions and infrastructure elements influenced by or influencing the development of an event. 

Separately these elements are scientifically more or less understood, but a holistic approach as in WoWW combining different effects and models how they influence each other, is a transformation in the way of thinking and how to handle risk induced by NH. It is a transition in how simulation tools, information, results and scenarios are made available to the end user, and it transforms the society and public sector away from a sectorial narrow approach to a holistic digital approach to future challenges related to NH and adaptation to climate change. 

How risk and vulnerability (ROS) analysis is conducted and the result presented will be significantly transformed. Today consultants or other specialists are collecting and systemising information, running simulations on specialized, hardly available, sometimes personal, simulation models and presenting more or less interpretable results in reports. In the future, WoWW will enable decision makers to test scenarios and mitigation measures prior to or during an emergency. Sensors, a recognized critical pattern or a created state set the starting point and the user will be playing with scenarios of development in a natural hazard virtual game and develop a first-hand immersive understanding of the dynamics and leverages in the hazard situation. The user will be presented different scenarios in a logical and realistic setting. A game which realistically will give the user an understanding of potential risks, causes and effects without human intervention and where he can experience the effect of different measures.  

The result of the analysis will no longer be a dust-covered report, but a series of immersive and dynamic animations illustrating the scenarios and potential consequences and effects of preventive measures.  

This will give a holistic visual understanding of causes and effects that will enable detection of critical bottlenecks, elements or situations that need particular focus. It will increase the understanding of a holistic approach among stakeholders and decision makers and enable them to reach better decisions both to avoid future costs and potential loss of lives. 

WoWW covers most of Gartners Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018. AI, smart systems and Intelligent analytics will be necessary to handle the vast amount of information necessary to create scenarios with realistic likelihoods in combination with models simulating natural response and depending on user decisions in a gaming situation to give a realistic and relevant user experience.  

Collecting the response from users when exposed to critical situation can further be used in machine learning to give feedback to the system and to understand how humans handle critical situation due to NH. In an automatized system this can further be used to control people’s behaviour to avoid critical situation. Machine learning will be used to tune model parameters to achieve realistic simulations and further to recognise situations potentially leading to critical events. This can be used to create warnings and to interact with the public through mobile devices (5g) and prevent threats and damages.  

The information necessary to create a realistic virtual reality at any relevant location for this project is available on cloud-based sources. The information needs to be continuously updated and the system needs to collect this information and present it to the user independent on his or her platform. 

A realistic user experience and ability to interact in the situation is crucial to achieve a valid risk assessment and user behaviour. This demands that the system creates both an intuitive communication platform and an immersive experience.  

WoWW will create a tool for virtually testing and optimizing solutions for any construction or installation exposed to natural hazards embedded in WoWW. This opens potentially a new platform selling virtually, but realistically proven digital solution to construction clients.