Woeful lack of flood warning apps in rainsoaked UK

No Android version & incompatible with BlackBerry 9320

England appears to be experiencing its wettest winter in 250 years and flooding is happening all over the country. So it seemed sensible to discover if the UK government was making its flood warnings readily available to mobile users. Short answer – a disaster. There appears to be only two apps to alert UK citizens. One version for iOS devices and the other for BlackBerries. Or rather – some Blackberries. Not our 9320, for example. There’s no Android version at all, although the developer – Halcrow/CH2M Hill, has been promising one on its web site for ages here. The British governmental body responsible for issuing the flood warnings, the Environment Agency, also hasn’t seen fit to make its web site mobile friendly. You have to persevere if you want any information by mobile.

What sparked this GoMo News investigation was accidental disinformation put out by the local radio station here in Surrey.

One of the flooded roads mentioned was initially given out as Fordbridge Road in Ashford, Surrey. The actual location was in Sunbury – just down the road.

So we set out to discover if there was an app to provide the correct information.

It seems that back in2011,  Halcrow (which is part of the CH2M Hill group) produced an app intended to warn people if they were living in an area liable to flooding.

The developer probably had no idea the UK would be putting out 16 severe flood warnings; 133 flood warnings; and 231 flood alerts in a single day [February 11th 2013].

The apps use information supplied by the Environment Agency and it’s possible to look at the live flood warnings here.

Now the site isn’t mobile aware so mobile browsers seem to struggle with the information.

GoMo News discovered that if you key in a location using a mobile browser, the site reports that the location can’t be found. Do it a second time and hey presto it works!

To attempt to download the BlackBerry app from BlackBerry World go here.

To download the Apple iOS Flood Alert app from the iTunes Store go here.

The app isn’t as flexible as the Environment Agency site, so it only shows a map of your immediate location. However, you can read the text of the actual warnings via your mobile.

We wonder why the Android version was never released? It was originally touted as becoming available in 2011. Ho, hum.

About Tony Dennis

Tony is currently Editor of GoMobile News. He's a veteran telecoms journalist who has previously worked for major printed and online titles. Follow him on Twitter @GoMoTweet.
This article was published in BlackBerry, Mobile applications, android, iOS, mobile news and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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