Flood experts create winning app to help prevent water disease outbreaks
A team of flood experts from the University of Exeter has claimed first prize in a national competition, for their pioneering online Water Disease Prevention System (WDPS).
The Exeter team took part in the recent #OpenDataHack, a high-profile event established to help promote the benefits of ‘open data’ - or data that can be freely used, shared and built-upon by anyone.
At the event, they demonstrated their online platform which highlights where fresh water should be deployed to help prevent epidemics from breaking out following droughts or floods in developing countries.
The team, featuring researchers from Exeter’s world-renowned Centre for Water Systems and called CWS+, was selected as the joint winner of the GET CREATIVE challenge at the event, held in Reading.
Dr Albert Chen, a Senior Research Fellow at CWS and expert in urban flood modelling, was part of the successful team. Speaking after the event, Dr Chen said: “We had a very talented team who all contributed greatly to the challenge that was presented as part of the #OpenDataHack event.
“The prevention system that we created utilises weather information, based on both past observations and forecasting for the next 15 days, to help identify potential hotspots for cholera outbreaks in Kenya.
“By using this information, local administrations could deploy fresh water and medical supplies in advance, and so minimise the impact of any potential disaster.”
As well as Dr Chen, the CWS+ team featured Dr Barry Evans, Dr Mike Gibson and Dr Mehdi Khoury from the Centre for Water Systems, as well as Dr Damien Decremer from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).
The team, which spent around 26 hours coding the WDPS platform as part of the competition, were joined by 18 other teams at the event presenting applications including gaming, travel advice, animal migration monitoring and humanitarian activity support, amongst others.
Currently, the Exeter members in the CWS+ team are working on the EU H2020 RESCCUE, EU-CIRCLE, and SIM4NEXUS projects, EU FP7 PEARL, ICS Consulting KTP, British Council Global Innovation Initiative, and NERC FFIR TENDERLY .
Date: 27 March 2017