GaugeMap gives people and businesses alike real time information about the current status of English and Welsh rivers through a unique collaborative project that leverages big data and social networks.
Developed by the company Shoothill, GaugeMap software makes use of the raw data collected every 15 minutes by the UK Environment Agency’s measuring stations – the Agency only began releasing the data in 2014. Via the website users can find detailed information about a particular river by searching its location, name, or status (normal flow, below average or at risk of flood) on an interactive map. More than 2,400 rivers are listed! They each have their own Twitter account, which sends out several tweets a day. It is just a question of subscribing to the feed of a specific river.
Potentially GaugeMap offers the possibility of adjusting water extraction to make it more sustainable. "The ideal scenario would be to use the river levels to know when to take the water out," said Rod Plummer managing director of Shoothill in an interview in The Guardian. He went on to point out that excessive extraction when rivers are running low damages aquatic biodiversity as well as potentially endangering river users.
GaugeMap has already won an award for innovative open data use. It is a great tool which makes open data easy to understand, and at the same time demonstrates the links between the weather, river levels and the risk of flooding.
Main picture: GaugeMap screenshot