A unique online flood mapping service has today been launched on the Environment Agency’s website as rising waters continue to blight many parts of the country.

FloodAlerts, created by Shropshire-based software development and data specialists, Shoothill Ltd, takes live data from the Environment Agency’s nationwide network of monitoring stations and overlays it on detailed Microsoft Bing Maps.

A specially tailored version of the service has now been embedded in the Environment Agency website, ensuring the most up-to-date information on water levels is available to everyone who needs it, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with live data from the Environment Agency monitoring network being updated every 15 minutes on FloodAlerts.

FloodAlerts was originally launched on Facebook in April and by June had already won a national award for innovation. Since then it has also been opened up to any internet user through it’s own web interface and has recently been shortlisted for another prestigious IT industry title.

The service has proved critical to hundreds of thousands of users since it was unveiled, providing them with updates regarding ongoing risks, including sending alerts direct to users via email and their Facebook accounts when areas important to them are in danger of flooding.

Shoothill Managing Director, Rod Plummer, said: “The FloodAlerts service is the only one of its kind and provides the most up-to-date picture of the flooding situation at any given time, hence the reason why the Environment Agency has licensed the service to embed in its own website, which is generally the first stop for anyone needing accurate information on where water levels are rising or receding.”

“There are obvious benefits to people’s safety and their ability to prepare and protect their property, but this information is also critical to many key services and businesses who have to protect their infrastructure or keep essential personnel on the move. Because it’s a cloud-based service, on the Windows Azure platform, we have access to all of the computing resources we need when demand is high and can scale extremely quickly to ensure the service is always available. At the height of the various flooding incidents this year we’ve been handling hundreds of thousands of users at peak demand.”

John Curtin, Head of Incident Management at the Environment Agency, said: “The Environment Agency has responded to feedback from the public during the summer floods of 2012 and improved the way we display live flood warnings on our web pages. This new service will ensure our flood information is more accessible and easier for the public and our partner agencies to locate flood alerts and flood warnings in their area.”

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