Google Crisis Response and Hurricane Sandy

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!

Crisis Map_Sandy

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4 responses to “Google Crisis Response and Hurricane Sandy

  • ewaller11

    I think this is a great idea, especially the person finder. However, I remember in class we spoke about the Red Cross version of google’s Person Finder. In the future they should look into ways of integrating these systems so that people don’t have to register themselves on multiple sites.

  • margaretvariano

    This is a great feature, I had no idea Google was doing something like this. I think this could be beneficial because so many people use Google as a primary source of information, so people may be more likely to use a Google application like this than to find another source. I agree with the above comment though, that people may not want to register themselves more than once and in order to find people, one may have to search on several different sites because they do not know which site they are registered on.

  • zgoldmann

    I had the same thought as ewaller11. If there was some way to aggregate the data of the two systems I think that you would end up with something extremely powerful. Although I don’t think it will take google very long to figure this out. As google already has a history and background I think they can be a little more effective than everyone else because they don’t have to work on making themselves known.

  • calliemedin

    I think this is a good idea. I remember we talked in class about how in the past, crisis mapping has been used for developing nations but developed countries have been overlooked. It’s great that some ICT4D programs are applicable to a much greater scope of countries.

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