Hosting Supports Twitter UK Snow App
According to official UK service time, the Met Office, Britain has just suffered through a long spell of freezing conditions since December 1981.
The recent winter storms throughout the UK wreaked havoc on public transport and generally disrupted the lives of millions of UK residents. In the calculation that were affected areas and determine where the snow was falling or not and in what amounts, millions of UK residents turned to Twitter. Hundreds of thousands of them also turned to a specific Twitter-based application created by residents of East Midlands and freelance web developer, Ben Marsh. The snow map UK allows Twitter users to report where the snow is falling and view reports on a map in real time. It works regardless of cloud cover that no weather satellites.
The system works like this: Anyone with a Twitter account (for those unfamiliar, Twitter is a web-based microblogging service that limits posts to 140 characters) to report on the local snow conditions. The tweets person (the name of an individual message), the uksnow # hashtag, besides its location – the place name or the first half of the local postal code, and a score of snowfall from 0 (no snow) to 10 (Blizzard ). These results put into a map of the UK in real time through the development experience of Mr. Marsh – and give a visual reference of the local snow conditions as reported by actual residents on the ground at that location .
The snow map of the UK has been active since last February, but has increased exponentially in use from one year to another – a reflection of the growing popularity of Twitter in the UK. Last year about 50,000 UK residents use the map. This year, the map received 50,000 hits a day during the peak of the last week of snow. During the recent winter weather, the requests it receives over 100,000 unique snow reports from around the UK, with rates of over 100 tweets per minute at peak times.
These loads of heavy traffic can bring a website to a crawl, if not managed properly. Mr. Marsh therefore chose the web hosting company, 34SP.com in Manchester to run in the technical term of web hosting and web server support. Ben Marsh explained the importance of web hosting component in the application, “You need a host that can keep an eye on your server’s traffic and usage levels and do everything possible to keep the website available and running smoothly. When winter storms hit again this year, demand in the map of peaks and was much higher than I experienced last winter with the original map of the snow. The application was struggling to serve content to all users and I asked 34SP.com upgrade your account to a virtual web server as fast as they could. Within a few hours the application has been migrated to a new virtual server and the application was able to easily handle the number of visitors received.
Mr. Marsh concluded by commenting on the viral nature of the request, “The main thing that surprised me was the way they really captured the public imagination and how popular it became, and how fast! I think it illustrates very well how to good visualization of the data may encourage people to participate and add to it. So much so that # uksnow was number 8 first news topic trends on Twitter for the whole of 2009, which in itself is amazing! “