Shoothill provide Flood and River level APIs to ‘HackTheTownHall’
After the extreme flood events the UK experienced this winter, this weekend (26th-27th Apr) saw the annual Hackathon in Whitechapel concentrate on a special theme. Dubbed ‘Hack The Town Hall – flood-relief’, the event was focused on creating apps and tools to help disaster emergency preparedness, flood response and recovery by residents, local agencies and government.
What is a Hack?
For those don’t know what it is, a Hackathon is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, get together over a few days and collaborate intensively on software projects.
Hopefully, at the end of the process, some new and exciting ideas emerge and these in turn lead to new products and services. At the same time Hacks are great at bringing together folks with similar interests and getting them to work together when otherwise perhaps they wouldn’t.
This is not the first Flood Hack to be held in the UK, as in February 2014 the Government called its own Flood Hack event, where some of the country’s top software developers spent a Sunday, brainstorming and building prototype flood-relief applications.
FloodAlerts, River Level and 3-day flood forecast API
For both of these Hack events, Shoothill were asked to supply APIs for the attendees to be able to quickly access the Environment Agency live data feeds for Flood Warnings (FloodAlerts API), River Level Gauge Data (River Level API) and a 3-day Flood Forecast API, which are all based around the FloodAlerts system that Shoothill already supply to the Environment Agency, now approaching its 3rd year in continuous operation.
The three API’s provide a secure programmatic access to the Environment Agency’s flood and river level data and return the data as either XML or JSON formats. As the FloodAlerts service is updated every 15 minutes, so is the FloodAlerts API and so this means that any apps or services built with the API are receiving exactly the same data as Shoothill FloodAlerts and the Environment Agency simultaneously.
This is the same for the River Levels API which contains over 2,700 data points. These APIs Completely free to use, and are currently published under the Open Government Licence v2 and will be available in here until May 2014.