The independent charity Peterborough Environment City Trust has teamed up with Meniscus, Anglia Ruskin University, and Loughborough University to launch a brand new app-development project in Peterborough called Hyperlocal Rainfall, funded by Innovate UK.
The project is looking to deliver a brand new phone app that will help people to make informed decisions about travel around Peterborough, by providing up-to-the-minute and hyper-localised weather forecasts, enabling users to walk and cycle more by taking the weather into account and hence improve their health and wellbeing. Freya Herman is the Project Officer for Hyperlocal Rainfall.
Over the past few months we have taken the first major steps with the Hyperlocal Rainfall project with an amazing amount of help and support from the people of Peterborough! Now we are waiting excitedly, but patiently, to see the initial version of our app which is currently in the development phase.
To get us to this point we have engaged with over 30 Peterborough residents, who wanted to get involved with the development of the app. Late last year, we held one- to-one interviews to find out how having access to better knowledge about when and where it is going to rain could support the participants with walking, jogging, and cycling and how best it could help people travel sustainably around Peterborough.
Earlier this year, we also undertook group discussion sessions across the city to develop on the feedback from the interviews. These sessions helped us build a better picture of how people would want to interact with Hyperlocal Rainfall’s improved short-term rainfall predictions to plan their journeys and (with the help of many brightly coloured pens!) how the app could look.
Participants made great use of the coloured pens to give an idea of how they think the app could look
The feedback from these sessions was overwhelmingly positive and helpful, providing us with lots of great information to build on. The sessions also gave us interesting insights into other ways the Hyperlocal Rainfall app may be useful, such as when to hang out the laundry or have your afternoon BBQ!
With our project partners from Loughborough University we pulled together all the information; highlighting key points, interesting ideas, and trends in the feedback about how the app can best show rainfall and other information to help you plan your journeys around the weather. The results from this have now been handed over to our other project partners Meniscus Ltd and Anglia Ruskin University to directly feed into the app’s development, which aims to provide personalised information to the users.
Pulling together all the information from the group discussions with our project partners from Loughborough University
So, all this fantastic information we have gathered over the past few months is now guiding the app’s development process and though it may not be possible or feasible to fit in all the ideas we would like from these sessions we know that the input is helping us work towards the strongest and most supportive app for sustainable travel around Peterborough. I would like to take this opportunity to again thank everybody who has been involved so far with Hyperlocal Rainfall, it has been greatly appreciated and I hope you enjoyed it as much as we have!
There is still a lot of work to be done on Hyperlocal Rainfall and our next step is to get the initial version of the app complete, a step I am very excited about as I can’t wait to see our app in action for the first time! Then from here, we will be looking to run user trials to test the app around Peterborough to allow us to develop it further and make any improvements that may be needed.
This is the first in a series of monthly progress blogs on everything that is happening with Hyperlocal Rainfall, so if you want to keep an eye on how this project is developing and get more information on the initial version of the app, check back next month for my April update!