App counters danger of flooding

There is an app for everything.

There is an app for everything.

Since the revolution of smart phones in 2008, apps that enable users to do just about everything under the sun have been popping up in incredible numbers on digital devices everywhere.

The market for apps have become so flooded in fact, that often users need to sort through a lot of junk to get any of the useful ones. Therefore, when a useful app is launched, it spreads and bears talking about.

For example, weather apps have become so common that they now come standard on most smart phones. It makes sense that the topic people converse about the most would also be topic dealt with by one of the world’s most popular app. Now, the Government of Alberta has taken the weather app and combined it with data from Environment Canada and the Alberta Forecasting Centre to make it useful.

In response to Albertans asking for more information about flood conditions after last summer’s devastating floods, the government has launched the Alberta Rivers app. This app will combine data about the weather, such as precipitation amounts, with data about Alberta’s river ways, like maps that chart their levels, so as to give something of a forecast of how likely the event of a flood in any area would be.

This new technology should prove useful to Albertans today. During the floods of 2013, it seemed the biggest issue was how fast things occurred.

There was little warning and what warning did come left little room for preparation. Not only that, many victims were caught off-guard by just how devastating the floods would be when they did come. When the evacuation orders came in High River, some residents only piled their belongings on the highest shelves of their homes, believing they would be able to return in a day or two.

This new app would give Albertans notice as to when a flood might happen, how likely it is to happen and how much flooding could be expected. It’s an interesting combination of technologies that fills an unmet need and is an idea that we would like to see applied elsewhere as well.

The Government of Alberta already has an Alberta Wildfire app that combines weather conditions with wildfire conditions within the province And allows users to report a wildfire as well. Another great combination might be weather conditions and traffic.

Every winter we watch the weather and worry about how bad the snow will affect the roads. Road condition and traffic apps already exist, but why not combine them so drivers have a better idea of how the road conditions have affected traffic and much extra time they should give themselves to reach their destinations.

Basically, an interesting idea with potential has been stumbled onto here. Let’s see how far it can go.