Apps shows consequences of climate change and actions to prevent or diminish them

How much will the water rise right here where I stand? What will it look like if I plant trees or make a rain bed to absorb the water?

With a new app that uses augmented reality, citizens of the Danish city Esbjerg can see exactly how heavy rain and rising sea levels will affect their city, street, or garden.

Augmented Reality Experience

Esbjerg Municipality

Raising Awareness

What: App using augmented reality to show rising water levels and diminishing actions

With the app Klimaklar Esbjerg, your phone uses a combination of the built-in camera and augmented reality to show the effects of climate change right where you stand within the city boundaries of Esbjerg.

You can add a yard stick in your field of vision to measure how much water levels will rise in the case of heavy rainfalls or flooding. Based on geodata, you can see the expected levels in case of a 20-, 50- or 100-years event. The app simulates rainwater, rising groundwater, and flooding from the ocean.

It means that you can stand right in your own backyard and see how your house or garden will be affected by climate change. You can also see what it will look like if you add trees or a rain bed in your garden or street to absorb some of the water. Furthermore, the app includes a 3D model of the entire city that simulates how rising sea levels and heavy rain will affect the city as a whole.

Why: To engage the citizens and inspire them to act

Esbjerg Municipality had the app developed as part of their climate and risk management plan for the city of Esbjerg.

“We expect the app to help engage the citizens more in the local climate agenda. Now they can physically stand and see the effects on their phone right where they are – in the harbor, in the square, or in their own garden – and it is simply more engaging than visiting the municipality’s homepage looking for data,” says Bodil Ankjær Nielsen, Climate Consultant in Esbjerg Municipality.

The possibility of adding trees and rain beds is also an important part of the functionality in order to create engagement. Otherwise Bodil Ankjær Nielsen fears that the simulations could leave the citizens in despair.

“Our action plan is two-fold. We want to create awareness about the effects of climate change, and we will need to adapt in order to managing the changes and challenges facing us already. The functionalities in the app of adding tree and rain beds are to show a way forward and inspire people to act. And with the augmented reality function it’s very easy to visualize what their preventable actions can look like,” she said.

How: Augmented reality based on location and geodata

The app is based on geodata from engineering consultancy company Niras. Hydrological analyses are made to show where the water will collect in Esbjerg based on different scenarios of flooding and heavy rain.

The Klimaklar app uses the data in combination with GPS coordinates and the camera on your smartphone or tablet and lets you watch the water levels and the adding of trees, rain beds and other functionalities in augmented reality.

Who: Cooperation between Virsabi and Esbjerg Municipality with data from Niras

Klimaklar Esbjerg is developed by Virsabi for Esbjerg Municipality. It is based on data from engineering consultancy company Niras. Esbjerg is the second city in Denmark to launch a Klimaklar app, as Virsabi has also developed a similar app for the city of Odense.

“We are proud that our work and technology can be used to engage people in actions to prevent climate change. I believe that giving people a chance to see how climate change will affect them right where they are inspires more people to act, as we unfortunately have become somewhat numb to hearing news about melting ice caps and remote forest fires,” says Michael Harboe, CEO of Virsabi.

Due to the app being based on geodata, functions are limited to the boundaries of the city of Esbjerg. We’ll be more than happy to show you how it works.

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Virsabi is a company that explores the intersection of creativity and technologies and is one of the first Virtual – and Augmented Reality dedicated companies offering both business advisory work and technical development for the utilization of Virtual Production, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality and other new visualization technologies.