FloodAlerts is a free to use application provided by the Environment Agency and developed by Shoothill to provide users in England and Wales with flood warnings
Source: “About” section of FloodAlerts
Runs offline: no
Website of the developer: Shoothill
Shoothill is a British company specializing in the development of mobile and web applications which has created several tools (they will be analyzed in this website too) aimed to inform the population about flood risks.
FloodAlerts is one of these web applications. Initially launched in 2012 as a Facebook app, performs a constant monitoring (updated every 15 min) of the flood warnings, keeping users informed about the situation. The data are obtained from the Environment Agency in the UK, a public agency with which the system, that is hosted in Microsoft Azure, is permanently connected via hub. When an alert is detected, the tool represents the data graphically on a map, making reference only to the surface that can be affected by the flood (does not include data about depth, speed or volume of the avenue). This system is an extension of the alerts service offered by Shoothill through Twitter and Facebook.
The alert system works previous registration and geographical location of the interest area. This step can be made introducing, for example, the name of the town or zip code, although you can also define the area on the map (the flood warnings are also valid for coastal areas likely to be affected by high tides or storms). When an alert or warning is issued, “My alerts” section displays a notification identifying the area and severity of the threat (three categories). you will receive also an email in the account used to register. If you choose to use the Facebook app, you will receive an update on your wall and an email to the mailbox of this network.
Images: Screenshots 05/10/2015. ©ShootHill
The flood risk is one of the natural phenomena that more damage causes, both in terms of the number of victims as in economic losses. In the UK, for example, and according to an article of the London School of Economics and Political Science of 2014, the economic losses by the floods suppose to an annual average of about £1.2 billion. Avoiding these losses through a proper urban and water planning is key, but a system of early warning of floods can also serve to minimize the consequences, raising the level of caution of the citizenship. The development of these measures is especially important when numerous studies suggest that due to climate change, these events will be more frequent and damaging.
Besides its manifest utility, FloodAlerts stands out for the use of social networks as channels of mobilization and alert. However, although Facebook has a wide distribution, it might be interesting to implement an alternative system of notification by WhatsApp or SMS for the people who don’t have an account in this social network.