Recently, a friend forwarded me information about this site from Google about crisis response. Google has, as you may have heard, played a role in disaster response and recovery recently. Probably the best known example is their effort to help reunite families and track the missing after the Tohoku earthquake using a version of their PeopleFinder tool.
If only to ensure that everyone sees the scope and variety of free tools out, there I point you to this page. Intended to serve as a “where to start” for responders interested in incorporating some of the tools Google has developed, it’s actually not a bad place to start. The following tools (and associated case studies) are featured:
- Google Public Alerts
- Google Person Finder
- Custom Google Maps
- Google Earth
- Google Fusion Tables
- Google Docs and Spreadsheets
- Google Sites
If you’re interested in learning more, Google has also developed a page to help you talk with your IT staff about how best to share information with the public in an emergency.
While this post is very Google-heavy, they are far from the only players in this field out there–especially in the crisis mapping field. This post serves only to let you know about all of the cool things that are possible these days, and should not be seen as a soup-to-nuts accounting. Start here and dream big.