Monday, September 05, 2005

Katrina Information Map

I came across an extremely helpful site for anyone (1) directly affected by Hurricane Katrina or (2) anyone interested in seeing the intersection of technology and aid efforts.

It is called the Katrina Information Map (found at It basically uses a Google Maps engine (don't ask me if that's legal or not) and allows users to zoom into their neighborhoods and post messages.

Though it's sad to see the number of messages from people looking for missing family members, this is counterbalanced by the number of messages from residents notifying others that they are okay.

This is an ingenious use of existing technology. It is almost as impressive as the Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) they used at Ground Zero to give firefighters a better damage assessment as well as a way to orient themselves as they made their way through the wreckage. What sets the Katrina Information Map apart in my mind is that it is based entirely on input from end-users helping themselves, which (fortunately and unfortunately) seems to be a common theme during this last week.

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