This year has seen some of the worst flooding in decades, within the UK. Many people have been getting involved with trying to find a solution to this problem. The technology community is no different. Using government data, volunteers from the tech community are trying to design and create a variety of applications to help with response and relief effort in the UK.
After an emergency conference at 10 Downing Street recently, over 200 developers went to the Google Campus in Tech City to take part in Flood Hack, an event initiated in order to find solutions to the UK’s flooding issues.
The Government Data Services allowed developers an insight into its flood data as well as data from the Environmental Agency. Developers were included from Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft, with 16 teams summoned to make pitches for their concepts to a Cabinet Office judging panel.
“The UK is suffering the worst flooding seen in our lifetime, and as those living in affected areas confront the consequences, it is vital that they have relevant and real time information,” says Chairman Joanna Shields from Tech City UK. “In a meeting on Friday convened at No. 10 Downing Street, the government called on the tech community to best use its wealth of flood data and the response we’ve seen from developers has been fantastic.”
Some of the chosen applications of the conference were:
- Don’t Panic: a system which allows people to request and receive information about flood warnings as well as requesting assistance.
- UKFloodAlerts: an alerting system which notifies people about power cuts, burst river banks and blocked roads via application or text message.
- Flood Feeder: presents a visual feed of flood and related data; such as warnings, alerts, mobile phone mast locations and transportation routes.
- FludBud: locates Twitter users near affected areas and sends them details about flooding and potential volunteers.
- Vizicities: pictures flood levels in 3D and offers information on ‘Who do I call when I have a power cut?’; lets people look up their Distribution Network Operator (DNO) based on their post code and supplies contact information.
- Citizen Flood Journalism: locates people near flooded areas and messages them to request photos and descriptions which are then compiled into a feed.
“Over the course of the weekend we had hundreds of people volunteer their time to produce genuinely innovative apps that are testament to the creativity, imagination and generosity of our local tech community and demonstrates the power of government opening up data,” continues Shields, who will be removing herself as CEO of Tech City, to be replaced by Gerard Grech (BlackBerry).
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[Image via: mashable]