Hong Kong Observatory awarded in Hong Kong ICT Awards 2019 (8 April 2019)

The Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) won the Smart Business Grand Award and the Smart Business (Solution for Business and Public Sector Enterprise) Gold Award of the Hong Kong ICT Awards 2019 announced on April 4 with the nowcasting system that it developed in-house.

The nowcasting system is called SWIRLS (Short-range Warning of Intense Rainstorms in Localized Systems). Adopting computer vision and a deep learning model, the system makes use of weather observations from radars, lightning sensors and rain gauges to provide timely and effective forecasts of rainfall and lightning, which supports the HKO’s operation of rainstorm forecasting and warning services. The real-time automatic nowcasts are made available through the “MyObservatory” mobile app and website. Members of the public can utilise the information to take precautionary measures ahead of severe weather to reduce damage. The rainfall nowcasts are provided to the Civil Engineering and Development Department, the Drainage Services Department and the Water Supplies Department to mitigate landslides, improve works efficiency, enhance ecology and preserve fresh water. The HKO also shares the source code of SWIRLS with other regions to promote the leading role of Hong Kong in scientific research on nowcasting techniques and applications in weather services.

The awards further recognise the work of the HKO, which received the Award of the Year in the Hong Kong ICT Awards 2009 with its LIDAR Windshear Alerting System.

The “MyFlightWx” electronic flight bag application developed by the HKO was also awarded a Certificate of Merit in the Smart Mobility (Smart Transportation) Award of the Hong Kong ICT Awards 2019. “MyFlightWx” provides pilots with weather information before take-off and during the flight using a geographical information system. Through presenting weather information graphically, the application enables pilots to access and assimilate information through the interactive interface more conveniently, thereby promoting aviation safety awareness and efficiency. The HKO is the first meteorological authority in the world to provide such services. “MyFlightWx” is pending official approval from the Civil Aviation Department before it can officially be used in flights.

Reference link: Smart Business Grand Award of the ICT Awards 2019


The Director of the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO), Mr Shun Chi-ming (seventh left) ; the Assistant Director of the HKO (Aviation Weather Services), Miss Lau Sum-yee (sixth left); the Assistant Director of the HKO (Forecasting and Warning Services), Dr Cheng Cho-ming (eighth left); and other HKO colleagues attended the presentation ceremony of the Hong Kong ICT Awards 2019 on April 4.

DSD, HKO and the project team winning ACEHK Annual Award (11 December 2017)

A team formed by the Drainage Services Department (DSD) and the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) along with consultants and contractors responsible for the Kai Tak River Improvement Projects won “The Association of Consulting Engineers of Hong Kong (ACEHK) Annual Award”, signifying recognition of the close inter-departmental collaboration and innovative spirit by the engineering community.

The awarded works primarily involve upgrading the drainage capacity of Kai Tak River and mitigating the flooding risk of Wong Tai Sin. The opportunity is also taken to inject greening, landscaping and ecological elements, thus revitalizing the river into an urban green river along a serene emerald corridor. As one of the innovations, DSD, HKO and the project team jointly developed the “Early Rainstorm Warning System”, which actively alerts the project team based on real-time data from the SWIRLS nowcasting system of HKO. The working hours inside the river were increased by a fifth, while the flooding risk was also reduced during the construction period.

To learn more about the details of the collaboration between DSD and HKO on the works, please watch the episode “Waters of Kai Tak River pouring from the sky” of “Cool Met Stuff” (Chinese only):


A photo taken on the award ceremony on 20 Nov 2017, attended by DSD and HKO along with works consultants and contractors (The 4th from the left) HON Chi-keung, Permanent Secretary for Development (Works) (The 5th from the left) TONG Ka-hung Edwin, Director of Drainage Services (The 3rd from the left) FUNG Yiu-man Frankie, Senior Engineer of Drainage Services Department (The 2nd from the left) WOO Wang-chun, Scientific Officer of the Hong Kong Observatory


Trophy of ACEHK Annual Award