Campus News Georgia Impact

MAREX, Georgia Sea Grant staff use app to monitor king tide

It was exactly the kind of event the Sea Level Rise app was built for, and UGA was on site to take advantage of the new technology.

When the king tide struck Tybee Island on the morning of Oct. 28, some of the most dramatic scenes weren’t on the well-known beach outside Savannah but inland, in neighborhoods a few blocks away.

“We saw today where the stormwater infrastructure is and what a key role that plays in these events,” said Mark Risse, director of Marine Extension/Georgia Sea Grant, a unit of the UGA Office of Public Service and Outreach.

Risse led a group of Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant staff members on Tybee who were using the smartphone app to document nuisance flooding related to unusually high tides.

Over time, “citizen scientists” could be trained to use the app to record where and when flooding is happening via GPS coordinates and pinpoint trouble spots, Risse said.

Not much data has been collected on these localized floods, which is where the app could fill a significant gap.

“That kind of information hasn’t been collected by scientists,” said Shana Jones, planning and environmental services manager at PSO’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.