Both private & non-profit technology sector entities have dedicated significant efforts to build services and platforms focused on disaster response or recovery. While some of these are not specific to emergency management, they may provide advanced functionality that would not typically be used by the general public. In addition to providing useful crisis services, many organizations have dedicated staff or volunteers to assist emergency managers leverage their services during a disaster. An overview of how these services work, how to access them, and how to connect with their teams can be found here.
Credit: Facebook Research
After a natural disaster, humanitarian organizations need to know where affected people are located, what resources are needed, and who is safe. This information is extremely difficult and often impossible to capture through conventional data collection methods in a timely manner. As more people connect and share on Facebook, their data is able to provide insights in near-real time to help humanitarian organizations coordinate their work and fill crucial gaps in information during disasters. Facebook has implemented disaster map initiative to help organizations address the critical gap in information they often face when responding to natural disasters. All data is de-identified and aggregated to a 360,000 square meter tile or local administrative boundaries (e.g. census boundaries).
- Density Maps
- Movement Maps
- Safety Check Maps
- Cellular Network Coverage Maps
- Battery Charging Maps
- Population Displacement Maps
- To Apply: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/disastermaps
Facebook has developed a number of crisis response tools, based on what they’ve learned from their community. When there is a crisis, people use Facebook to let their friends and family know they’re safe, learn and share more about what’s happening, and help communities recover. People are able Crisis Response on Facebook from the homepage on desktop or from the menu button on their phone. They will see the following tools when they’re on a crisis page:
- Safety Check: an easy way to let your friends and family know you’re safe. It will be featured at the top of each crisis page if you are in the affected area.
- Links to Articles, Photos and Videos: crisis-related content from public posts can help people learn more about a crisis.
- Community Help: people can ask for and give help to communities affected by the crisis.
- Fundraisers: let people create fundraisers and donate to support those affected by the crisis and nonprofit organizations helping with relief efforts.
- Help Center: https://www.facebook.com/help/141874516227713/
Mark Yourself Safe (Safety Check)
Give or Find Help
TweetDeck makes it easier to track the real-time conversations during a crisis. Twitter’s free social monitoring dashboard brings more flexibility and insight to emergency managers through a customizable layout, enhanced monitoring, and advanced search filters. Keep up with the people and topics related to the incident, and join the conversation by Tweeting, sharing, and scheduling — all from within TweetDeck.
TweetDeck’s multicolumn layout gives the flexibility to create an interface that reflects the most important topics during an incident. Track multiple topics at once to stay informed about what’s going on, be alerted to breaking news, monitor the brand voice of your organization, and find the nuggets of gold that signal what’s happening the moment it happens.
With filters for location, content, people, dates, and engagement, it’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for and join the conversation. Sift through the noise with advanced queries, filter for specific media, and refine the way you search on Twitter.
TweetDeck teams make it easy to securely share access to an account without sharing the password. As the account owner you can:
- Invite others to access the account as admins or contributors
- Take action on behalf of the team account (Tweet, Retweet, Direct Message, etc.), schedule Tweets, create lists, and build collections
TweetDeck helps plan out your content calendar by scheduling Tweets in advance. It simplifies collaboration by letting you compose and schedule Tweets across teams and accounts.
Emergency Management Tools
When disasters strike, Airbnb activates their host community to provide temporary housing for those in urgent need. Airbnb contacts hosts in the impacted and surrounding areas asking if they have extra space that they would like to share at no cost with their displaced neighbors. Hosts who choose to participate will have their space listed through the Airbnb Open Homes Program (airbnb.com/openhomes). In addition, guests and hosts in the area have access to 24/7 Airbnb customer support.
Emergency & Preparedness Messaging
Airbnb wants hosts and guests to be prepared ahead of a disaster impacting their community. To achieve this,they partner with local, state, and federal government authorities and relief organizations, including emergency management agencies, to provide safety and preparedness guidance to their community. They email hosts and guests to provide the most up to date information from the government authorities leading the response to a disaster.
During major disasters GasBuddy activates a publicly facing website that provides analysis on fuel availability. When hurricane features are activated for an area, GasBuddy’s free app can differentiate stations that have no gasoline, no diesel or no power so that motorists can try other stations. The crowdsourced tracker can be updated by motorists and displays the status for locations that have been reported to GasBuddy. Motorists are encouraged to report the status of any station they see to help others find gasoline or avoid stations with no fuel or power.
SOS Alerts aim to make emergency information more accessible during a natural or human-caused crisis. Google brings together relevant and authoritative content from the web, social media, and Google products, and then highlight that information on Google products such as Search and Maps. Depending on the nature of the crisis and the users location, they'll see updates from local, national, or international authorities. These updates could include emergency phone numbers and websites, maps, translations of useful phrases, donation opportunities, and more.
SOS Alerts are available on:
- Google Search
- Google Maps
Google Public Alerts is Google’s platform for disseminating emergency messages such as evacuation notices for hurricanes, and everyday alerts such as storm warnings. Google aims to show relevant official weather, public safety and earthquake alerts around the world when a user searches on Google Search, Google Maps, and on Android devices. Currently, we publish content from partners at the US National Weather Service, US Geological Survey (USGS), National Tsunami Warning Center, AMBER alerts from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, & Everbridge.
Google created the Crisis Map to help people find and use critical emergency information when they need it most. Using Google's technology, speed, and user-friendly design, Crisis Map was designed to make disaster information easy to find, use, and share.
The online maps include the latest satellite imagery and available information like storm paths, flood zones, evacuation routes, shelter locations, and power outages.
- See data in a simple map format on a range of browsers and devices. Quickly access important information about a crisis situation and explore the information visually on an easy-to-use map, optimized for both mobile and desktop screens.
- Find information in one place. Crisis Map collects information that's normally scattered across the Web and other resources and makes it easily available through a single map. Find authoritative information as well as crowd-sourced data, all in one place.
- Depend on the latest information. Crisis Map always shows the latest information that is available to us. Because it's grounded in Google Maps technology, Crisis Map is fast, reliable, and ready to handle large numbers of visitors during an event.
Google Person Finder is a web application that allows individuals to post and search for the status of relatives or friends affected by a disaster. The program also lets press agencies, non-governmental agencies and others contribute to the database and receive updates by using the Person Finder API based on the PFIF open standard. In addition, websites can choose to embed Google Person Finder as a gadget on their own pages. Google Person Finder is open source software meaning that any developer can create their own instance of Google Person Finder after a disaster.
Connected Citizens Program
The Waze Connected Citizens program, also known as CCP brings cities and citizens together to answer the questions “What’s happening, and where?” Waze exchanges publicly available incident and road closure reports, enabling their government partners to respond more immediately to accidents and congestion on their roads. In turn, Waze aggregates their partners' data on the Waze platform, resulting in one of the most succinct, thorough overviews of current road conditions today.
With the addition of city data, Wazers will be even safer on the roads and more knowledgeable about construction, marathons, floods or anything else that can cause delays. And for their government partners, publicly-available Waze data is a powerful tool to build more efficient cities. Real-time information from drivers is essential; no one knows more about what's happening in a city than the people who live there. There are a number of methods ranging from simple to complex when sharing data on in the CCP:
- Get Waze Data:
- Give Waze Data:
- Real-time & Planned Closures through Feed
- Real-time & Planned Closures through Map Editor: http://www.waze.com/editor
- Planned Closures & Major Traffic Events through Email: firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com
- Incidents through Feed
- Incidents through Reporting Tool: https://www.waze.com/reporting
- Emergency Shelters through Form
- To Apply: https://partnerdash.google.com/waze/start#p=start&program=CCP
- Help Guide: https://support.google.com/waze/partners/CCP/?hl=en#topic=9313717
- Crisis Event Support: https://support.google.com/waze/partners/answer/6342326?hl=en&ref_topic=6342373
- Major Traffic Events: https://support.google.com/waze/partners/answer/6363430?visit_id=636918859831486923-1136671140&rd=1
- CCP Partner Portal: https://partnerdash.google.com/waze
- CCP Resources: https://partnerdash.google.com/waze#a=1138507173&p=CCP&t=resources
ArcGIS Solutions for Emergency Management
ArcGIS Solutions for Emergency Management includes a collection of maps and apps that are mission specific. An organization can download one or more of the maps or apps, configure them their organization, and leverage the maps and apps to expand the use of geographic information.
ArcGIS Solutions for Emergency Management reduces the cost and time it takes to deploy mapping applications in an organization. Esri solution templates provide a jump start for common organizational workflows so an organization doesn't have to reinvent the wheel. New maps and apps that are added to the solution on a regular basis.
Esri’s Disaster Response Program (DRP) assists with disasters worldwide as part of their corporate citizenship. They can support response and relief efforts with GIS technology and expertise when your organization's capacity is exceeded.
When your organization needs help quickly, Esri can provide data, software, configurable applications, and technical support for your emergency GIS operations. Use GIS to rapidly access and visualize mission-critical information about the specific locations affected by a disaster.
- Documentation: http://solutions.arcgis.com/emergency-management/documentation/
- Esri Apps: https://www.esri.com/en-us/arcgis/products/apps-for-everyone/overview
Nextdoor for Public Agencies
Nextdoor for Public Agencies is a neighborhood engagement platform. Agencies use Nextdoor to provide targeted information to neighborhoods and quickly get feedback from verified residents. Public agencies on Nextdoor have their own Nextdoor page. All of the residents within a jurisdiction who use Nextdoor will automatically be subscribed to receive messages from agencies within the jurisdiction. Staff can post messages to the entire jurisdiction (i.e. the City or County), to service areas created by the agency (i.e. police beats or city zones), and to Nextdoor neighborhoods created by residents. In addition to sharing information with residents, agencies can request feedback using Nextdoor’s polling feature. Law enforcement agencies can also choose to receive crime & safety information directly from their residents on Nextdoor.
- Nextdoor for Public Agencies engagement plan for Emergency Managers: https://medium.com/nextdooragencyresources/nextdoor-for-public-agencies-engagement-plan-for-emergency-managers-2e7dbef08d2f
- Help Center: https://nextdoorhelpcenter.force.com/s/topic/0TO36000000c7agGAA?language=en_US
Crisis Cleanup is a collaborative disaster work order management platform that improves coordination, reduces duplication of efforts, improves efficiency and improves volunteers' experience. Crisis Cleaning It works best when a large number of volunteer organizations with many volunteers work together to large numbers of people in a large area, all at the same time.
Crisis Cleanup is for collaborative work order management; not volunteer, donations or case management. To protect clients, Crisis Cleanup is about property, not people.