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Google launches crisis map anticipating hurricane Isaac

  • Google

  • AP / NOAA / ESRI

With Tropical Storm Isaac rolling over the Gulf of Mexico toward Louisiana and likely to sustain hurricane-force wind by the time it hits the state’s swampy coast early Wednesday, Google has launched a new site to help out.

"When disaster strikes, people turn to the Internet for information," explains Google's Crisis Response project, an offshoot of the of the Google.org philanthropy arm, which aims to aid in times of need.

The forecast track for Isaac has the storm aimed at New Orleans, but hurricane warnings extended across 280 miles from Morgan City, La., to the Florida-Alabama state line. It could become the first hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast since 2008.

'When disaster strikes, people turn to the internet for information.'

- Google Crisis Response

To do its part, Google has launched the new website aggregating info on tropical storm Isaac as part of its Crisis Response project.

“We’ll be updating this map with more information as it becomes available,” explained Raquel Romano, a software engineer with Google Crisis Response, in a blog post announcing the new site. “We hope you find the tools and information useful.”

The team collaborated with the Red Cross, the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and various government and NGO partners to present emergency storm warnings, alerts of earthquakes and more, including active shelters and the forecast path of the storm. It also allows for user-generated content, should people in the area have photos, warnings and advice, or other relevant information.

Users can find advisories pertaining to their own neighborhoods using the search tab at the top of the site, according to The Verge, as well information on local evacuation routes and active shelters. The map also provides links to any relevant YouTube videos and live webcam feeds from impacted regions.

"We help ensure the right information is there … by supporting first responders in using technology to help improve and save lives,” the site explains.