OpenPlains’ Platform Aims To Prevent Flooding From Wrecking Communities

Durham-based OpenPlains is developing software that will help municipalities and individuals better model the potential effects of flooding. The startup is participating in the 12-week RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP).

A new environmentally savvy startup, Durham-based OpenPlains, aims to help save buildings and homes from being destroyed due to flooding.

Although it’s a part of nature, you don’t want flooding to damage your neighborhood, or the road you take to work. From these concerns, Corey White’s platform was born.

OpenPlains will make geospatial modeling for flood resiliency planning more accessible to the public. This means that it will provide communities, local governments and individuals with the ability to see how areas might be affected in locations that are susceptible to flooding.

“We are providing the ability to do urban growth forecasting on top of future flood event scenarios so that communities can better plan for the future,” he said.

Showing how urban areas are expected to grow over the next few decades is important to discern where future flooding will do the most damage, White shared.

He found that current tools mapping data in specific geographic areas are inaccessible to the general public because they are difficult to understand without the proper training. OpenPlains will make this data easier to understand and interact with, he said.

Corey White is the Founder and CEO of OpenPlains

White is participating in the RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP), a 12-week program designed to help startups advance their innovative projects. Past startups undergoing RAP include TSV Analytics, Trilliot, GabbLabb, and more. [The links are to past GrepBeat stories.] This RAP cohort will take place in Cary.

White felt very excited to receive a spot in the accelerator program, he said. He plans to get his website up and running during RAP.

OpenPlains’ objective is to model how water flows—and floods—along with its impact on people living in possible flood areas. He hopes his website will help policymakers decide where to build infrastructure. The initial revenue model will be for municipalities to pay for the service.

“My goal here is climate resiliency and flood resiliency, and improving the lives of communities,” White said.

White hopes that communities using OpenPlains will be able to lessen the detrimental effects of floods and combat the effects of climate change. Although he plans to deploy his technology in the Triangle at first, he says OpenPlains’ software could work in any location.

Satellites and drones will be used to map landscapes and the platform will enable people to see future flood-event scenarios, White said.

OpenPlains will allow towns and cities to “grow smarter.” This technology could help people decide where to build homes before they spend money constructing them in potential flood zones.

White has lived in North Carolina since 2006, and completed his PhD in Geospatial Analytics at NC State. He has also worked as a teaching and research assistant at the NC State Center for Geospatial Analytics.

Having experience working with local municipalities like Asheville and Raleigh has helped White gain the necessary knowledge to establish his startup. He is currently bootstrapping and looking for grant funding.

When White is not working on OpenPlains, he enjoys hiking with his dogs and playing tennis.

About Lauren Zola 33 Articles
Lauren is a reporter and summer intern at GrepBeat. She is currently enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill and will start her junior year in the fall. She has written for The Daily Tar Heel and loves to play tennis.