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If you're interested in contributing your skills, time and enthusiasm to reduce the impacts of flooding on Chennai's residents, this page is for you. 

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What is ChennaiFloodManagement.org? 

ChennaiFloodManagement.org is an online, collaborative platform, built to collect, improve and communicate the significant efforts being made to understand and mitigate the behaviour of floods in the city. It is run by volunteers. 

ChennaiFloodManagement was founded through a collaboration between Chennai's Citizen consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG) and Hydrata - a web-focused water engineering company. 

How is it useful? 

ChennaiFloodManagement.org supports real decisions made by government, property developers, emergency services and residents. Your work makes a long-term impact on quality of life. 

Examples of our user stories include:

"As a resident, I need to know which areas of the city are likely to flood, so I can plan my family's evacuation in advance of an early flood warning"

"As a government approving property development, we need to ensure proposed development won't impact up or downstream properties during a flood, so the cities development proceeds on an equitable basis"

"As a civil engineer designing stormwater drains, I need to know what other projects are planned within my catchments, so our solutions can work together"

How do I contribute?

It's best if you contribute something you're passionate about, and want to learn from. So the first step is to review the currently active projects, and select a task where you will:

  • have some form of experience, or a desire to learn.
  • interact with other professionals you would like to network with
  • believe that doing this task will have a significant impact on the overall project

Once you've selected your task, the process gets a bit more focused:

1. Review the task brief

The brief has been prepared by the Product Owner to get you started and share why this task is important. Sometimes the task brief will be a full user story, but often the Product Owner will have broken the user story down into tasks based around potential contributor's skills. 

2. Email the Product Owner to open the communication

As a minimum, you should let the Product Owner know that you are interested in contibuting to the task. They will provide any available guidance on the impact each task is intented to create, together with a techincal overview. This will be published on the "working" page for the project.

The Product Owner will email you a username and password to edit the relevant report pages.

From here, we leave the choice of collaboration tools open to you. Skype, Slack, email, face-to-face, carrier pigeon, you pick the tools that work best for the task at hand. In line with our transparency values, we do ask that you capture and share as much of this process as possible on the "working" page so others can learn why, not just what, you produced. 

3. Get to work! 

3.1 You'll need some data

Most tasks rely on open data from our geonode repository at data.chennaifloodmanagement.org. This is where we store project inputs and outputs (yes, yours will end up here too!).

For most people, the best way to get started is to dive right in and discover the data you find most useful. Once you have a feel for things, and want to take a more detailed look, you'll need to know that we use a Spatial Data Infrastructure called "Geonode". To learn what you can do with it, we recommend this introduction tutorial.

Important - there are 2 ways to get your input data from our data repository (at data.chennaifloodmanagement.org)

First way to get the input data: we can 'stream' the data to your desktop software (ArcGIS, QGIS, Google Earth or many others).

We do this using OGC webservices. You can find the details and endpoints at http://chennaifloodmanagement.org/developer

Advantages here are that you always have the latest data, and you do not need to worry about saving and maintaining your own copy. In this manner it is similar to YouTube where they show you the content of a video without you needing to store it on your hard drive. 

Disadvangtages here are that editing the data is (generally) not possible, changing display styles can be tricky, and you are reliant on internet connectivity to get work done. Some OGC webservices will not stream attributes attached to your spatial data (although others will). 

Second way to get the input data: download the data in it's original form and use it in your desktop software.

Advantages here are that you can edit, combine and style the data to match your use case.

Disadvantages here are that if you edit the data, you will need to re-upload it, together with a changelog, in order for the data, and any of your outputs, to be useful for others. This is fine, but do talk to the Product Owner to coordinate things. 

3.2 Reporting

Reports are generally made up of both text and maps. You can view an example output at December 2015 Flood Inundation Mapping

Reporting your text

Writing report content is done directly through your web-browser. To edit the report page, click the "edit" label, located next to the page heading. You will be requested to enter your username and password (provided by the Product Owner). From here you will access a text editor where you can directly type the text of your report. When you save the report here, it will be saved to our database, and visible to other team members who are logged in. Once you and the Product Owner are satisfied with the work, you may publish it to the public webpage using the "Publish Changes" button.

Reporting your maps

To add a map to your report, first create, save and publish it using http://chennaifloodmanagement.org/en/maps. Record the map number (you can find this in the URL address for your map).

Now open the report text editor for your page. Add a "CMS Plugins" --> Geonode Map. Fill out the required fields and save. 

4. Seek feedback

We are currently developing feedback and verification mechanisms for others to review your work. Please discuss this with your teams, and we will be there to support you.

OK, that's it for now. It's time to register!

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