The project: 

Following the Victorian Government Review of the 2010-2011 Flood Warnings and Response (“Comrie Review”) into the devastating floods of 2010-2011 it was found that Victoria needed a comprehensive flood management system a Flood Intelligence Platform.

The  web-based flood intelligence platform, FloodZoom, has been developed internally and in collaboration between the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and industry.

The platform integrates geospatial information systems (GIS) with real-time data from gauges located in rivers and water catchment areas around Victoria, and rainfall information to allow key stakeholders to manage flood warning and mitigation systems such as Incident Control Centres and community response.

The technical issues

In 2013 the Department sought out QuantumIT, to help with three immediate and pressing project requirements .and senior consultant, Allister Farn was brought onboard in 2013

QuantumIT Senior consultant, Allister Farn, initially conducted a week-long ‘technical review’ in preparation for a changeover of project team members. Second. To resolve issues in preparation for a system demonstration to the Water Minister. Third. To act as a transition point for new developers being hired at the time.

DELWP continued to engage Allister Farn as the project technical lead that encompassed the entire breadth of the technical project.  Collaborating with stakeholders, driving technical improvements across the team and delivering on the requirements.  The achievements have included significant cost reductions for the client with more efficient and effective service delivery and clarity of goals across the team and stakeholders.

At that time, FloodZoom’s project management processes did not match the complexities of the Flood Intelligence Platforms evolving requirements required. Farn said, “There were no issue tracking systems, no continuous integration or deployment systems, no automated testing or unit testing, no centralised information repository, and no mature knowledge of the system as it stood.”

The solution

During the course of his first three months on this project, Allister implemented Jira, a well-respected issue tracking system, Team City for continuous integration builds, Octopus for continuous deployments and a Confluence as the team wiki to document the development processes and other aspects of the system which were previously held in people’s heads.

The management of the entire technical team of consultants has been managed successfully by Allister throughout the engagement and delivered results for Victorians in flood related responses.

Since then the team has also delivered major upgrades and functionality.

The benefits

“Prior to upgrading the project management processes, a new release meant I had to set aside two hours, and manually copy deployment artefacts between environments,” Allister said. “The same job is now a one-click install.”

FloodZoom is also fully operational in the field and being used by a number of stakeholders.

A recent example involved flood analysts who used historic and real-time data from gauges located in the high country catchment areas near the NSW border to accurately predict the timing and severity of flooding in the township of Orbost, more than 100 kilometres downstream. Having adequate warning allowed the town to prepare appropriately and avoid any risk of damage.

Another example involved being able to reassure a local incident controller who originally wanted 40,000 sandbags because he had a feeling the floods would be bad, when in fact all indicators in the system predicted the flood levels would not reach his expectations.