As we all know, social media played a huge role in preparing/educating the public for Hurricane Sandy. After doing a little more research, I found out about a feature on Google called Google Crisis Response. Google Crisis Response makes information regarding natural disasters and humanitarian crises more accessible. For example, the Crisis Response features satellite imagery of the disaster area, outreach, Google Person Finder, and other programs created with the intent of organizing disaster response resources and information. Not only is this feature (Crisis Response) available in the US, but it is also available worldwide in many different languages. I was particularly intrigued and impressed with the Person Finder- a web application used to ‘connect friends and loved ones following a disaster.’ The Crisis Map is used to display the storm paths, shelter locations, and power outages (just to include a few). All of the Crisis Response applications/features seem very beneficial for aiding those affected by a natural disaster. For Hurricane Sandy, I found their Crisis Map for “Superstorm Sandy.” The Crisis Map included a special NYC map and a more main map encompassing a broader area. Gas Stations were an especially important feature on the maps- as the map indicated via legends whether or not gas was available/ inventory was low/ or completely out. It also had legends for shelter and recovery centers (Red Cross, FEMA, etc). The map included many other things as well, please click on this link to check it out yourself!
Tag Archives: Google Crisis Map
This article talked about various social media efforts taken during hurricane sandy to connect people, alert people of unsafe places, and alert reaction efforts.
- Google’s Crisis Map: This map showed information and specific places affected by the storm, the path of the storm, shelters, operational gas stations etc.
- Facebook: statistics done showed that “we are ok” was the most common status updates post Sandy
- Twitter: ““Over 127,000 pictures tagged #Sandy were posted on Twitter”
- Instagram: “520,000 images tagged #Sandy were shared on Instagram”
This article also talked about the downside of social media, which we discussed in class, which was a big problem during this storm.
I think social media is a vital resource in the aftermath of disasters. But, people must take tweets for example, with a grain of salt during disasters like this, because these social media forums are not news sources they are social media outlets. In addition it is important to remember, as mentioned in class, that a network built up before disasters is important or else there is no way to connect to people, and the social media cannot be used to it’s fill capacity. Despite this, Twitter and Facebook were great ways during Sandy to know if loved ones were okay and safe. Hopefully twitter and facbeook will play a large part in uniting relief efforts post Sandy.
Furthermore, I did research into what would have happened if there was social media involved when hurricane Katrina hit, and came across this article. This article stated that there actually WERE some forms of social media used (outside of Facebook and Twitter). For example, blogs and wiki’s were used. More specifically, The Katrina People Finder Project was created to help people unite with their families who were separated from the storm. This basically was one central data base that collected information on missing persons from various blogs and wiki’s. “The Katrina PeopleFinder Project enlisted virtual volunteers to enter data about missing and found people from the various online sources.” I think that this is very interesting because we think social media as this recent creation that has emerged in that past couple of years, but here we see the connection of people created by the onset of social media back in 2005 when Katrina hit.
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