Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Google Maps Out Emergency Alert System

By Rich Duprey - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:15AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Crisis response information expands with hyperlocal alerts.

In an emergency situation, you're likely to get more valuable, reliable, and up-to-date information off of social media like Twitter and Facebook then you'll get out of FEMA, Homeland Security, or any other number of disaster relief organizations. The hashtag #Sandy was among the top trending topics on Twitter as the hurricane barreled into the East Coast, with residents posting the latest news, pictures, and information along its path.

With hundreds of millions of "boots on the ground," so to speak, social media provides virtually live updates of what's happening and how bad things really are in a disaster.

Where to go when disaster strikes
Last year, Google (GOOGL -0.16%) also greatly expanded its alert system ahead of Sandy, launching "crisis maps" showing the storm's path and providing emergency information, such as evacuation routes, the location of public shelters, and live pictures of the storm.

Source: Google.

Now it's taking it further by rolling out a system that displays alerts from police agencies all across the U.S.

Hyperventilating over hyperlocal
Partnering with a small start-up called Nixie, a New Jersey-based community information service that alerts you to public safety threats and community events via web, email, and cell phone, Google on Friday tapped into the company's hyperlocal database of 6,500 police agencies to begin displaying alerts when someone searches for a place that has an active alert or uses Google in an area with an active alert.

Beginning with Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when it created satellite imagery overlays of the devastation in the affected region accurately showing the scope of the disaster -- which EMS workers used to help find stranded survivors -- Google has been expanding its "crisis response" resources to develop tools to help determine whether and how to respond.

Last year it teamed up with the National Weather Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to display warnings issued by the agencies on its maps. Google has since added the Japan Meteorological Agency and AMBER alerts for missing children.

Have your bug-out bag at the ready
Alternative news outlets have been undermining the foundations of traditional media for years now. With social media and the Internet quickly supplanting the TV networks as place to turn to to get immediate information when disaster strikes, Google's crisis response alert system makes it even harder to extricate ourselves from its web.

Now when it all hits the fan, you'll be able to map out how you'll be able to make it to your bug-out location in safety.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
GOOGL
$2,116.10 (-0.16%) $-3.30
Meta Platforms, Inc. Stock Quote
Meta Platforms, Inc.
FB
$183.83 (1.41%) $2.55

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
322%
 
S&P 500 Returns
116%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/26/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.