Torrential rain, overflowing rivers, heavy snowfall – these are just some of the factors that can bring danger and disruption to households, businesses, road users and those relying on public transport.
The team at the Hartree Centre have helped transform the way authorities can forecast and prepare for when the weather is at its worst. KnowNow Information harnessed STFC’s high-calibre data analytics capability to create a unique data resource. It has the potential to revolutionise emergency planning and response.
Responding to traffic accidents, flooding incidents and other emergencies is complex and resource-hungry. Which is why the ability to predict accurately where and when they will occur has huge potential to prevent problems, protect lives and livelihoods, and cut costs.
KnowNow Information is a business that had a great idea. It wanted to combine open data generated by the emergency services, Met Office, and Environment Agency into a single, insightful repository of knowledge that would make predictions easier to generate. The company won a competition which awarded them the chance to prove their open data concept through access to Hartree Centre analytics hardware, software and expertise.
The work of the Hartree team enabled the ‘mash up’ and time-sorting of all the data. It also enabled overlaying of the data onto Ordnance Survey information to pinpoint the location of key infrastructure, buildings and other assets. The net result was a robust platform of evidence. It could highlight trends and triggers that determine the probability of specific types of emergency occurring in specific places under specific weather conditions.
Focusing initially on Hampshire, this solution – known as WUDoWUD (Weather You Do or Whether You Don’t) – has clear potential for roll-out nationwide and beyond. As well as informing resource allocation and investment decisions at national and local level, this predictive capability will give emergency services, highways authorities, rail operators, local communities and businesses more time to take proactive measures that negate or minimise the effects of emergencies.