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Shoothill: using Twitter to visualise flood data

User-friendly information on river levels and flood risk is being put into the hands of everyone thanks to a project funded by Innovate UK.

A company that specialises in unlocking the power of data has developed an alert system that gives a real-time picture of river levels and the potential for flooding at more than 2400 locations across England and Wales.

Shropshire-based Shoothill developed its GaugeMap with the help of a £97,000 award from Innovate UK. The map is a visualisation of river levels at 2,481 Environment Agency river gauges.

Anyone can view the map online for an overall picture of national river levels or search for levels and river flow at individual measuring stations. Twitter users can also follow individual gauges and receive two alerts a day.


GaugeMap allows users to see a national picture of real-time river levels and flood risk

The system was being developed in early 2014 as the UK was devastated by a series of floods. At that point the Environment Agency asked Shoothill to produce a set of application programme interfaces (APIs) for its software, including for river gauges, so there could be open access to the data for other software developers.

Rod Plummer, managing director, Shoothill, said:

Without the grant from Innovate UK we would not have been able to build GaugeMap and therefore we would not have had those APIs ready for the floods.

All of these other companies and thousands and thousands of individuals now recognise the brand Shoothill. It’s also enabled us to specialise in water visualisation.

Flooding alerts

The company has also developed Check My Flood Risk, a system that allows the user to check their flood risk by location, and FloodAlerts, a graphical representation of flood data that sends alerts to the user.

It is now looking to combine the information into one system that will report river levels, propensity to flood and tweet flood alerts.

Rod added:

I’d recommend Innovate UK to any small firm trying to do anything R&D based. It’s a no brainer.

Find out more about how your business can apply for Innovate UK funding


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