OxBump application

This unique app for iPhone combines the weather forecast with flag status for Oxford and Cambridge rowers to help plan training, assess the safety of the river and keep track of bumps (races). 

Flag status

The 'flag status' in Oxford and Cambridge is used to regulate which crews can be rowing depending on the river flow. However, whether or not a crew can go out does not give the whole picture. Captains, coxes, and coaches need to consider wind, temperature and precipitation when they judge the safety of an outing, and rowers need to take all of this into account when they get dressed in the morning!  In the pre-dawn hours, rowers might not take the time to visit the Met Office website for their forecast, but a quick look at OxBump or CamBump will give them the same trusted observations and forecast they need for the day.  Having a three-day forecast alongside the rules of the river can help captains and coaches plan their outings in advance.

Knowing what to expect

Susan Graham, one of the driving forces behind the development, commented, "As Women's captain, knowing the weather forecast helps me to plan the training schedules as well as assess the safety of the river to determine which crews could or should go out, and which crews should just train indoors. Training in bad weather, when it was safe to do so, meant that a gust of wind in a race, or rain before a start did not affect us as badly as crews who decided rowing in the rain isn't worth it.  Knowing what to expect is always helpful."

The OxBump and CamBump apps have been developed using data feeds from DataPoint. They use the UK 3-hourly site-specific forecast, which provides a quality controlled forecast out to five days for more than 5,000 locations together with UK hourly site-specific observations for the past 24 hours. 

The gold standard

Talking about the development of the app, Susan said, "The Met Office DataPoint service has been a huge help to development. It's easy to underestimate the amount of work it takes to get this kind of data into an app. While information can be taken from websites, that strategy is difficult both technically (websites look good to humans, but aren't easily read by an app) and legally (nothing stalls programming quite like trying to read through convoluted terms of use). The DataPoint service solves both of these problems by providing gold-standard Met Office observations and forecasts in easy-to-parse, industry-standard formats and laying out very reasonable terms of use up front; and, especially for apps like OxBump and CamBump that focus on making rowing safer rather than on making a profit, the Terms and conditions - DataPoint is perfect."

Strong reviews

The OxBump and CamBump apps are the first developments using data publicly available through Met Office DataPoint and are already getting strong reviews from the UK Apple App Store.

"Very easy to use app - very helpful when we had the high river levels and allowed crews to prepare as they could know if they could go out or not!"

"Great features: Flag status, quick live bumps info, and now tools to record erg times.  Flag status was very useful this year with ice and then heavy rain."

"Great app! Instant bumps results for mays and lents plus some great tools for planning outings and tracking ergs the rest of the year!"

More information about Feather & Square the developers behind these apps can be found on their website. The apps are available for download free of charge from iTunes.

Showcase application submission criteria

Showcase submission form