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Landslide Database

30th April 2017

The largest project of my second year at university was focussed on creating a web application for a real-world client. Our client was the university's Vice-President for Research and Innovation, Professor Dave Petley, whose research focusses on Landslides. Dave maintains a series of spreadsheets containing many thousands of entries, each pertaining to a single landslide event with at least one fatality. The problem was as follows:

  • Dave and his assistant were the only people to update, curate and maintain this 'database'
  • It was very difficult to extract useful data in an efficient manner
  • It was equally difficult to see data trends and visualise the data

Our solution aimed to allow users across the globe to submit data to Dave's database with minimal maintenance required on his part. The database itself was SQLite3, as this would allow for it to be stored in a single file which could be deployed to a server and also downloaded for incremental archiving with minimal technical knowledge. The site was built in Ruby on Rails, and used a range of gems to include features such as Google Maps integration, CSV exporting, database management, user management(including different permission groups) and more.

The site has been deployed in the state in which is was submitted, and is accessible below.