Scottish web-developers are playing their part in the clean-up effort around The Gulf of Mexico. A social media powered website for the public to collect and share oil spill data has been developed by EdgeCase: gulfcoastspill.com.
The site’s main function is to collect images, videos and reports from people impacted by the spill and to make them available to the public. People can upload images of oil on beaches, injured wildlife and volunteer activities among other things.
The goal of the project is to speed recovery by crowd sourcing information and making this information readily available to recovery teams. It is expected that Gulfcoastspill.com’s data will be used by emergency response teams, wildlife organisations, educational institutions and volunteer groups.
In addition to gathering and displaying reports, Gulfcoastspill.com will also provide information on the spill and recovery tools such as a business income loss calculator.
Paul Wilson, of EdgeCase Scotland and one of the lead developers on the site explains: “The potential of social media to aid the oil spill recovery effort by giving the public a platform to share images and the location of damaged wildlife is amazing.
“Ruby on Rails, the technology behind this website, allowed us to build a powerful social media site and get it live very quickly, so people can start using it. I am extremely excited about the potential of this technology to be rapidly deployed in response to emergency relief operations.”
“Over the coming weeks, we will be adding more and more functionality to the website” he continues. “The site that was launched today is just the first version of what we believe will grow and become a dynamic recovery tool. We hope that people will visit the site frequently to find the latest features and tools.”
Gulfcoastspill.com has been launched by Gulf Coast Spill Coalition, a charity formed in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Technology and web design experts, educators, legal and business professionals and ordinary individuals have come together to form the Gulf Coast Spill Coalition, with the aim of cultivating innovation in the use of technology for mobility and efficiency during crises.
It was developed by EdgeCase, a leading Ruby on Rails software development firm, whose team built the website; Intridea, a technology firm that developed the mobile reporting application; and Engine Yard, a cloud computing and hosting firm. All companies involved have donated their time and resources to the project for free.