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The Pacific Ocean generates more tsunamis than any other ocean on Earth, putting Tofino, First Nation communities and other coastal communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island at great risk.












Bold & innovative plans to improve
the quality of life for Tofino residents.


Imagine a community where waves, Indigenous knowledge, real-time sensors and modelling information is at the tip of your fingers and where safety is transmitted in a way that is easy and fun to understand for different users.


Our Challenge Statement

Our community will use evidence-based science, big data, and world-leading ocean observing technologies to develop a suite of “Wave Safe” tools that can be scaled to other coastal communities to save lives and improve community resilience and real-time response to earthquakes, tsunamis, and storm surges.

Focus Areas

Economic opportunity

Safety and security


Artificial intelligence (AI)

Augmented reality (AR) or Virtual reality (VR)

Big data analytics

Cloud computing

Environmental monitoring


Internet of Things (IoT)

Mobile applications


Open data platforms


Video analytics

Community service areas

Economic development

Education and training

Emergency services and enforcement

Land use planning and development

Recreation and parks

Water and wastewater


Our goals


Earthquake Early Warning automatic actions.

A smart solutions Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) alert will be implemented as a pilot project in Tofino. The pilot will implement EEW automatic actions, e.g. opening of the firehall doors to avoid jamming during shaking, triggering of tsunami alarms, alerting schools, day-cares and hospitals, shutting off water reservoirs and water pump stations, and activating the electronic highway signs to stop traffic from entering the hazard zone.


Far-field tsunami monitoring enhancements.

Solutions for more accurate far-field tsunami (those generated distant shores) monitoring will be developed. Available data analyses for BC during a far-field tsunami event will result in an optimal solution for far-field monitoring based on existing instruments and added new technologies that will provide a robust system for alerting the BC coast.

Improvements in tsunami-wave alerts will be completed via the Short-term Inundation Forecasting for Tsunamis (SIFT). By collaborating closely with the US for real-time Pacific Ocean alerts, the same advanced technology that US states have will be implemented in BC, resulting in marked real-time alert improvements.



Tsunami and multi-hazard modelling for preparedness and resilience.

New high-resolution data will be collected to generate 3D models of the land and ocean terrain that are used as input to multiple computer models including those for tsunami, storm surge, wind waves, oil spill response, and extreme climate events.

Tsunami inundation maps for far- and near-field tsunamis will be generated using the most advanced earthquake rupture models. The system will be deployed in local business and visitor centres. Smart phone apps and other data products for broad dissemination of hazards will be developed. A comprehensive emergency plan for the communities will be built with a playbook that describes multiple scenarios and, for each, the appropriate response strategies described.


Sea state now-casts and forecasts.

Operational forecast of sea state for the area will provide wave conditions for surfers, and real-time data for improved marine safety for both tourist and fishing vessels.


Mesh-network communications and preparedness assets.

Redundant communications during power and communication outages are essential for response.

Accessible preparedness bikes, with integrated mesh-network devices and emergency kits, will be made accessible for tourist use and will bring multi-hazard awareness to visitors in the community, while keeping them equipped for an event during their visit.

Drones will be equipped with mobile mesh-stations and cameras providing a double use for impact assessment surveys and communication during an emergency situation.


Community integration of the solutions

Educational materials are essential for ensuring preparedness and will be developed in collaboration with first responders, community planners, First Nations and educators. Educational materials will integrate the data, data products, and virtual reality into classrooms to expose children to big data, computing, and artificial intelligence solutions that will enable them to use and, through this technological exposure, enable them to become tech-literate.

Wave Safe will include a youth training program in these new and emerging technologies. Wave Safe will also establish a community engagement program using the technology and educational resources. At least one full tsunami evacuation exercise will be completed to test the systems and assess the preparedness of the community.

All photos by Rob Hehr