To effectively address water and climate related events, a strong information chain is critical. This chain consists of data collection, data processing, data storage, data analysis and modelling and the development of smart applications to support decision-making (in preparing for / responding to climate events) for water managers, policy makers, residents, business owners, etc.
The focus of this second edition of the Australia Water Challenge in 2013 was on two specific dimensions of the information chain:
(1) The potential of social media as a source of data (crowd-sourcing), and;
(2) The potential of apps that enable people to make better informed water-related decisions.
Following an Australia-wide campus roadshow, more than 30 teams from 9 universities submitted proposals, which were judged by an international team of experts. Four of them were invited to present their ideas at the International Riversymposium in Brisbane on 25 September 2013:
FloodHealth App by Angela Werner, University of Queensland
Dairy Pasture Flood Irrigation App by Pieter Raedts, La Trobe University
Operational Twitelligence by Paul Munro, Dan Peade and Damian Meoli, RMIT/University of Melbourne
WaterWatch App by Stephanie Borgonia, Emmanuel Diinis and Amanda Siqueira, University of Technology Sydney
During the Finals, the teams were pitching their ideas to the conference delegates and a team of jury members. Ultimately, it was the Operational Twitelligence solution by Paul, Dan and Damian that came out on top. Their innovative design platform that facilitates the analysis and mapping of massive volumes of twitter data in near real-time to support emergency response activities during flooding disasters received the highest evaluation.
The award was presented to the winners by Julie McLellan, CEO of Healthy Waterways and chair of the judging panel.
Says the winning team: "Being part of the Australia Water Challenge has been an illuminating and fun experience. We've had the chance to work with the foremost experts in the industry and were really impressed by the quality of the other finalists. We're looking forward to making the most of the opportunity to take our idea to the next level."