Disaster Apps Challenge Winners Interview with Jakarta Floods (Siaga Banjir)

DISCLAIMER: Jakarta Flood Alert was originally named “Siaga Banjir” —the language used in the app is Bahasa Indonesia. We developed the English version in order to easily explain the functions of the app for the competition. Siaga Banjir can be downloaded from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.siagabanjir

Q:   Please introduce the main features/characteristics of your application.

Jakarta Flood Alert was made to help Jakarta citizens get the most updated news about sluice conditions that affect certain regions in the Jakarta Greater Area. Therefore, Jakarta Flood Alert is powered and compiled of the following features:

  • Summary: At a glance, the app will give users the summary of conditions in 12 Jakarta’s sluices. The conditions displayed include the water level and danger status which is color coordinated — Red for the most dangerous, and green for the safest indicator. On the left side, there is also icon showing trend of water level in sluices based on the changes from previous hour.
  • Sluice Details: If one of the sluices in ‘Summary’ is clicked, the apps will give further details including: showing current water level, level changes in the past 6 hours, information about areas that may be affected, and the location of the sluice itself.
  • My Places & Recommendation: The app will allow users to save several locations (i.e. house, school, office, etc.) for constant updating. With this function, users will be notified if any of their selected sluice changes affect that area. Jakarta Flood Alert will gives recommendations to users on what sluice to follow based on the location that has been chosen.
  • Follow & Notification: By using this feature, users can get the latest updates from each individual sluice. Users can follow an affected area in “My Places”. If certain sluices have changed status — either it’s getting more dangerous or safer — followers will get direct notifications.
  • Education: The app gives explanations to users about the changes in water levels, who can be called to help, and what to do in certain situations.
  • Share: Current conditions in sluices can be shared to the users’ friends through social media channel and other shareable services. The information of potential flood in certain area can be widely spread to help preparedness by the local people.

We have a very niche market of users, and therefore a lot of marketing effort is needed in order to inform people about this app. The prediction of the next “season of flood” will be in January 2015, therefore we are collaborating with “Badan Penanggulangan Bencana Daerah DKI Jakarta (Jakartas Regional Disaster Management Agency) for promotion in that season. There are currently 1700+ downloads in Google Play and 437 citizens have used the sluices subscription system.

Q: What was the motive behind the development of this application?

It was in early January 2014 when Enreina (Lead Developer) and I were about to create the early version of Jakarta Flood Alert. The inspiration came one morning while opening my Twitter’s timeline, most of the people I followed posted about flood conditions happening around them.

There was a specific flood event everybody was talking about it. Some — if not most — of the people began complaining about previous governance policies that they thought contributed to the flood.

We had the chance to complain too but we chose to take action instead. Learning that there are 12 sluices in Jakarta and the data was publicly available in http://www.jakarta.go.id/web/data_pantauan/, and we learned on how to utilize it.

The very first version of Jakarta Flood Alert was only composed of the Summary page. We published it in Google Play and started to share the app in our circles. The feedback and reactions were fascinating; people expected more from this app but gave some really good suggestions.

In the middle of April 2014, Riska (our current UI/UX Designer) joined the team and gave Jakarta Flood Alert a whole new look and feel. Enreina was then focusing more on the technical side. After doing some research, we found a relation between the water level and certain areas it affected. Using that data, we decided to develop the current app version from only showing information to giving notifications and suggestions to users based on the location they are giving. We also made contact with “Badan Penanggulangan Bencana Daerah DKI Jakarta and they provided a more reliable and updated source of sluice details on http://bpbd.jakarta.go.id/waterlevel.

The result of this team combination and hard work is the Jakarta Flood Alert version that we see today.

Q: Why did your team compete in the Disaster Apps Challenge?

Actually, Jakarta Flood Alert was not made for competition purposes. We have been through some development phases before deciding to join Disaster Apps Challenge. By participating in this competition, we are looking for more feedback from professionals and seeking for potential mentors to give insight to the team.

Another reason is we are not monetizing the app yet. Therefore, winning some competitions will give us some booster to bootstrap the development of the product.

Q: Could you tell us about any of you (or your company’s) achievements that you want to share with the STAR-TIDES community?

The team of Jakarta Flood Alert have accomplished some other great achievements as well such as:

Q: What are your long-term plans for the application and where do you see it going in the future?

With this enrichment, we have goals to engage citizens to contribute reports of current flood conditions by posting to Twitter with #siagabanjir. Our role is to gather all the tweets containing information about the flood in one place and make it easily searchable. If the location of the tweet is enabled, our app will then place it in the Jakarta map to show the public where the flood is and spread information pertaining to its danger level

During this development phase, our team has grown to 5 team members of students from Faculty of Computer Science, University Indonesia:

  1. Fauzan Helmi Sudaryanto (Product Manager/Team Lead, now seeking for collaborations with some online youth movements and government agencies to spread the information of Siaga Banjir)
  2. Riska Fadilla (UI/UX Designer, uses her time to make the app more intuitive and make the brand stronger)
  3. Enreina Annisa Rizkiasri (Lead Developer, currently backed up by 2 new team members due to her study exchange in the Tokyo Institute of Technology)

New Members:

  1. Rasmunandar Rustam (Back-end Ninja, developed our upcoming crowd source architecture)
  2. Taufan Satrio (Support Developer, focused on our mobile app version)
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About startides

TIDES Research Assistant Intern
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