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Tech City UK’s #floodhack: Tech brainstorming event to support UK flood victims

As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve not had the best weather this winter, and Tech City UK took a stand against the dire deluges of late with its #floodhack event on Sunday.

The hackathon saw some 200 developers converge at Google Campus in order to brainstorm tech solutions to help the victims of the recent flooding, which has seen walls, roads, railways and front porches swept away across the west and south of England.

The various devs and engineers present – from companies including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and TechHub – were given full access to the flood level data collected by the government. They had to make use of this data and quickly put together a pertinent digital solution which would help water-logged Brits and make their lives at least a little bit easier in the face of potential further flooding.

Two minute pitches were then heard from sixteen teams, and a Cabinet Office panel picked out what they believed were the best solutions.

These included UKFloodAlerts, which allows for predefined alerts (for say a burst riverbank) to be instantly sent out to locals via an app or text message, and ViziCities, a utility for visualising the effects of flooding in 3D.

Another effort, Fludbud, uses Twitter to connect volunteers around flooded areas, and the event also saw the creation of Don’t Panic, a system to facilitate requests for help for those who aren’t online (which doesn’t involve towels, we might add).

Joanna Shields, Tech City UK chairperson, commented: “The UK is suffering the worst flooding seen in our lifetime… In a meeting on Friday convened at No. 10 Downing Street 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.”

She added: “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.”

If you want more details on the various projects discussed, you’ll find them here.

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