While Nominet is known for selling domain names, they have a variety of projects being developed and executed by their research and development team. An example of this is the Oxford flood network.

Flooding is a real issue in Oxford, one that is far too frequent. To combat this Nominet has begun working with LoveHz (A small Oxford based company) to help the citizens of Oxford to build a low-cost local flood sensor network in the areas most affected. The way this works is the user suspends an ultra sonic sensor above a small river (or a place with flowing water) and then using a raspberry pie the sensor would send the information gathered to a main hub.

The specifics of this is that the sensor will send multiple high-frequency sound waves at he waters surface and measure the time it takes for the sound to bounce back, it will then send the data through the raspberry pie to the central hub that records all the data received from every sensor. Of course with this monitoring being only 3 years old it has been hard to know if an anomaly is an actual water hazard or just and animal or tree branch which just happened to lay underneath the sensor, however as time goes on and more sensors are added to the network the monitoring system becomes more accurate and it becomes easier to differentiate between an impeding flood or a malfunction.

The Environment Agency has helped in that they have official sensors mounted on locks but they can be too expensive for the average homeowner to afford for their local river/stream. Nominet collect their data via their API and combine with their data and display it via map and graph visual data.

The main hub that collects the flood data also collects data from other sensor in the city like the street light sensors and others. The parking sensors they use at Nominet also send data to the main hub of which spaces are free or not. The temperature data is gathered from a sensor specifically programmed to record temperature but an average taken from the readings of other sensor that records temperature alongside other readings.

Of course, some of the issues with such a program can’t be solved as easily as strange data readings that can be explained by something blocking the sensor. Some of the issues are coding and connectivity issues and other complicated problems. To solve this Nominet have scripted it for their Continuous Integration server which allows them to get immediate feedback of bugs from eyeballing at the live version so that they can make changes to the prototype quickly without regression test making it harder.