Case Study: Weather Warning Project (Brazil)
We welcomed a new member, Carlos Eduardo de Souza from Brazil to Friends of Astah Program that we provide free license to NPO organizations or open source projects through. I asked about his non-profit project that he uses Astah for and how he is using Astah for.
“Astah is cross-platform, faster and simple, was exactly what I wanted.”
Satomi: Hello, Carlos. Thank you for making time to talk with me and I am happy to welcome you to our Friends of Astah Program.
Carlos: Hi Satomi, nice meeting you and thank you for letting me join this program.
S: So you are making a flood-warning system and you are using Astah for it. Can you tell us about your project?
C: Sure. I am a software engineer in Brazil and am currently creating a weather warning system, “Alertas Climaticos” in Portuguese) which is to ship weather warnings faster to people, rather than just showing the alerts on a website and wait for people to access it.
So what this system does is that it collects data from sensors that some governmental agencies have installed along the rivers. The system generates alerts when it finds a record showing that the river’s level is higher than normal. Then the alert is published on our Twitter account and sent to Telegram users if they are registered on our Telegram Bot. People can also access our website and check the latest data.
S: Fascinating. Why did you start this project?
C: I started this project to let people know about risks of floods in some cities near my home-town. My mission is improving the dissemination of weather alerts, since most people do not access governmental agencies websites regularly to check if it has rained enough to cause floods.
I’m grateful for never having lost any relative, friend or material goods in these disasters, but I know many people who did not have the same luck The major natural disasters have occurred in 1983, 1984 and 2008 here in Brazil. The first two happened before I was born and the one in 2008, I had to escape from downtown in time and made myself home which was in a safe region.
S: Oh we can related to that. Since we had the massive earthquake several years ago here in Japan, we were all terrified by how the natural disaster could make such devastated damages and take our lives away out of blue, and now we are more cautious about those weather and tsunami alerts that weather channel or government gives us.
So who can use your system? Who are you providing this service to?
“Astah helps me understand how the software should work”
C: Everyone and I have been working to keep this service totally free for anyone who wants to take an advantage of it.
S: That is very generous of you. So how are you using Astah in your project?
C: I use Astah for modeling UML diagrams and it helps me understand how the software should work and it clarifies the solution, and also to keep the documentation of the project. So far I have created Class diagrams and Sequence diagrams, but I think it will be required to use more diagrams soon as the project is getting bigger.
S: I see. Why did you choose Astah then out of other UML modeling tools?
C: A few years ago I was looking for a tool to help me to draw UML diagrams and when I was in college, my teachers recommended enterprise platforms, but I was looking for a faster and more simple tool. Then I found Astah, and was exactly what I wanted. Astah is cross-platform that enables me to can use it both on my Linux and Windows, and this has been helping me a lot!
And I appreciate your Friends of Astah program that gave me a free license. I have plans to distribute this project under MIT license soon, so people around the world will be able to improve this solution and use it to help other communities that have the same problem with regular floods as my city has. I am sure that sharing the Astah files attached to the programming code will be very useful for anyone to work on this project!
S: Wonderful. We are grateful that our program is helping you. If anyone joins your team or decides to customize your system for their own cities, we can provide free license to them too, so just let them remind of that. By the way are you alone on this project?
C: No. I began alone, but now there are a few friends of mine who are helping. One of them works as iOS developer and he is planning to develop a mobile app. The other one helps me to divulge news and engage to register themselves on project website and like our Facebook fan page.
“I’m using my knowledge and experience with diverse technologies to help my community.”
S: That’s nice that your friends are helping! And a mobile app would be very important. In Japan more people have earthquake alert apps installed on mobile devices since that earthquake.
C: Yes. Actually we have a lot of ideas about how to grow and improve this service in the future. I have read very recently on the Internet that Facebook is supposed to provide a SDK for its Messenger app with support to Bots. That would be a nice platform to integrate this Weather Warning project / Alertas Climaticos aiming to get more users, since Telegram app is not popular here in Brazil yet.
Another idea is to integrate this project with local Television Broadcasters to show weather warning on TV channels. That is possible since Brazil has been starting to use its own Digital TV System which supports interactive applications.
At this time, we are testing people’s reaction front of this new type of alerting system. I think that learning with the user’s feedback, we will be stronger to look for support of ICT Companies and Government to turn wonderful ideas into reality. This can help every person and company to avoid suffering and loss of material goods during floods.
S: Wonderful, you have so many ideas to grow this app! Where does your passion come from?
C: I think the government should provide a better weather alerting system. Rather than just complain about that. I have decided to do something concrete. I’m using my knowledge and experience with diverse technologies to help my community. If at least one person is helped with this system, or if this project helps in some way the governmental agencies to think more about User Experience in public services, all the work will have been worth it.
S: I am very moved by your passion and what you are doing. I am sure this system will help more than just one person, it will be saving a lot of peoples lives! We have a lot of Astah users in Brazil, so hope this interview page helps reach out more people, know about your service, try it and give you feedback, then gradually expands more to the world.
C: Yes, exactly. My idea is developing this project locally, using feedback from users to improve the service, and then I can plan to expand the project to other regions. I think the hardest challenge is turning this into a sustainable project, to make easier to expand it to other regions.
S: I like how you say on the contact page on your website. – “Your suggestion and questions are very important to improve our project. Working together, we all will have benefits when we are in need.”- “together” is a key! Well, good luck on your project, Carlos. and it has been very nice talking with you and again we are very happy that Astah is helping with this project.
To the readers, If anyone is interested in his project, contact Carlos (his contact is below on their website) and if you are working on similar projects or any non-profit projects, reach out to me. We would love to help your projects driven by your passion!