Witness King Tides hits RHoK Melbourne

Green Cross Australia joined forces with 150 volunteer computer 'hacktivists' across Australia, for the December Random Hacks Of Kindness event in Melbourne.

They joined hackers around the world in a global jam over 48 hours with the aim to software-solve real-world problems relating to natural disasters and other community orientated issues, including Green Cross Australia's Witness King TIdes project.


The project asks communities around Australia to take photos of the coastline when king tides hit. These photos are then used to gain an impression of what Australia's coastal communities may look like in the future as global sea levels continue to rise.


Green Cross Australia's Head of Digital, Courtney Johnston, said the weekend working to create an app and a responsive website for WItness King Tides would result in a more engaged audience around the issue of sea-level rise.


"With 85% of Australians living near the coast, sea level rise is an issue that will effect us all; so by improving the user experience with these Witness King Tides apps we hope to grow the project," Courtney said.


"The apps will solve problems many of our Tide Trackers have reported in the past, such as long upload times for photos and inaccurate locations of their images on the photo map," she said.


"As a non-profit organisation, we simply haven't had the money to invest in this technology so participating in an event like RHoK has been invaluable and we look forward to working with the team to launch the apps."


RHoK-sters created native and web-based apps to provide Australians with more information about rising sea levels. The apps allow users to photograph king tides on their smart devices and upload them immediately from the beach, a world-first for the global project.


Although the apps are still in their testing phase, the team hopes to launch them by the March 2014 king tides.


"The beauty of Random Hacks of Kindness is that we inevitably see something positive and powerful arise out of just an idea over the course of a weekend," said RHoK Melbourne Chairperson, Simone Esler.


Known as RHoK, Random Hacks of Kindness was founded in 2009 by Google, NASA, the World Bank, Yahoo! and Microsoft in response to natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina and the Boxing Day tsunami.


To find out more about the Witness King Tides project, visit witnesskingtides.org.

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