Beacon Transcript – Google has joined the University of Michigan in the Flint water tracking efforts as they have helped develop an app and released a website thanks to the company’s funding.
The Flint water troubles are far from being a recent or an unknown issue. Last year, the local water source pollution scandal reached nation-wide levels.
Reports showed that the Flint water sources had been affected by a lead contamination. As authorities announced that the problem has been somewhat solved, residents are far from convinced.
Unfortunately, a lack of trust has been one of the main issues of the crisis. They are mostly based on the water source change which took place before the pollution.
As such, a team of researchers and developers have decided to aid the citizens in their water tracking issues.
A team of University of Michigan, Ann Arbor researchers have decided to develop and release a platform. The website or its app version would help citizen check water parameters.
Jake Abernathy, program developer and University Computer Science and Engineering Assistant Professor offered details.
He states that the collaboration with Google has led to the development of an essential resource. Abernathy pointed out that the platform is an independent water tracking utility.
It should help offer all the water data that the Flint citizens need or want to know.
The researchers pointed out that a real-time counter of the water crisis effects should prove to be very helpful.
It would help track the progress being made in the area, or maybe the lack of results. Mark Allison also pointed out that this website would help create transparency.
Mark Allison is part of the water tracking developers as a University of Michigan, Flint Assistant Professor of Computer Sciences. He is also a Flint resident.
The water tracking platform has been released last week, on Thursday. An Android app version has also been released. The official website page is Mywater-flint.com
It was developed so as to cover a wide range of important data. As such, the tool will provide city-wide water testing results. It will also offer lead-testing results, and inform about any changed pipes.
The website will also include water and filter distribution centers locations.
Another important feature will be the platform’s ability to predict home lead levels. It will be able to predict the potential lead ratio according to a number of factors.
These will include the property’s location, size, number of years based on its construction age, and value.
According to the researchers, only about a third of the residents have had their water tested. As the testing process is a complicated one, the app should also come to help.
The platform will offer testing specific instructions. It will determine which water pipe should be used. Special testing kits are also necessary, and the app will point out their available locations.
The platform will also collect data gathered by a number of agencies in their water tracking efforts. As such, both governmental, institutional, and non-profits gathered information will become available.
Google, the Internet giant, has offered both funding and human support. It provided the grant necessary in order to support the project.
Google also volunteered engineers and UX strategies and designers so as to help develop the app and platform.
Mike Miller, the head of Google Michigan, stated that providing water information is one of the most important recovery steps.
If proven efficient, the University of Michigan app could potentially come to be used in other cities as well.
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