July 13th, 2010Birmingham
I received a rather strange phonecall this lunchtime, it was warning me of an incident in Birmingham City Centre, and to avoid certain areas and roads.
It took me a second to realise that I had signed up to the Birmingham Community Alert, I gave them my postcode and mobile number (through a Text), and thought nothing of it.
Overall I’m really impressed by the service (which is opt-in), and feel comforted by the fact that in the case of disaster/alerts I can be sent information.
The points I’d think might need work thought are:
- Use a recorded ‘real voice’ instead of a ‘text to voice’ system
- Allow the person to replay the message (i.e hit # to listen again)
- What happens when the phone networks jam? (An email would be nice as well)
So overall, job well done to Birmingham Resilience, Birmingham City Council, NHS, Police and Fire services.Tags: birmingham council, city information, disaster alerts, disaster planning, information release
So what was it all about?
Hackitude is a two-day hacking event based around your ideas. Non-techie-types can suggest ideas for things they’d like to see made, and hackers can setup or join working groups to make those ideas a reality.
Anyone could suggest an idea (or more than one), that they think is something that is missing in the online world. All the ideas are on the site, so take a browse – could you help build one of them in the future?
We chose to work on one by Dave Harte, which involved letting the public know where allotments where and what facilities they had etc.
I was popping in and out through the evening, but alongside Jamie Garner, but my main task was to help devise the data structure/model that the backend should work on.
The concept was to make it as flexible as possible, allowing us for instance to use the same database, and site, to pull out information on local cafes and facilities, or pubs with wifi etc.
I had other commitments through the weekend, but popped in a few times to help see how it was progressing and helping/hindering others along the way.
What came out of it was a remarkable system, which can be seen on the Metalocal site. It quickly shows the data, and filters based off what facilities your require.
Only a small subset of data is within the system, but its testament to all that it got done in the space of the weekend.
What do you think? Know of any other cool ideas like this?
P.S. Have a giggle at this: