Platforms with Crowdsourcing Applications

People use many social media and crowdsourcing platforms daily to share information, connect with friends, and make their work and life easier. The primary functionality of these tools may not be for emergency management but they can provide important functionality during a crisis. In some cases these platforms may contain important information from disaster survivors that can assist emergency managers in assigning resources and understanding where the greatest need is within their jurisdiction. These widely used public platforms can be leveraged by emergency management both in steady-state and disaster response through capabilities like preparedness messaging, public information and warning, and situational awareness. This page contains tips for emergency managers in adapting these platforms to support their mission.


Facebook Groups

What is it? Facebook Groups are used to coordinate and organize different groups of people. Groups can be open, closed or secret, depending on how private a group should be.

How can emergency management use it? This can be an effective way to create a dedicated communication channel for family members of those affected by a disaster, or amongst first responders. Groups have been a useful tool for internal coordination among shifts and crews, and for organizing volunteers and tasks. After disaster strikes, there are many examples of communities naturally organizing in Facebook Groups, sharing information with each other, offering resources, and requesting help. Government and non-profit organizations can use groups to:

• Create public or private communication channels

• Coordinate internal tasks

• Connect group members, share documents

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Facebook Events

What is it? Facebook Events are a great way to bring people together, either on Facebook or in person, before, during or after a disaster. When people accept an invitation, they’ll be able to participate in a conversation on the Event page, and will be reminded of the upcoming event through Facebook.

How can emergency management use it? Organizations and communities can use events to do the following:

• Raise awareness around disasters and prep

• Promote volunteer opportunities

• Organize responders

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Facebook Pages

What is it? Facebook Pages are the foundation for a two-way communication channel between organizations, including Public Authorities, and their community.

How can emergency management use it? The different features of Pages — like call-to-action buttons, the ability to share videos and photos, and Notes — allow organizations like governments and disaster relief organizations to tell a robust story and have engaging and enduring interactions with the people they serve.

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Facebook Search

What is it? Facebook Search allows the search for people, posts, photos, videos, places, Pages, groups, apps, links, events and more on Facebook. Start searching with keywords (example: Hurricane Michael) and you'll see a list of results that you can filter.

How can emergency management use it? To search directly in Facebook for information related to Essential Elements of Information (EEIs).

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What is it? Instagram is a photo and video sharing platform that can be searched by keywords, hashtags, people, and places including geotagged photos.

How can emergency management use it? To search directly in Instagram for photos and videos related to EEIs.

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Twitter Search

What is it? Twitter Search allows the search for people, hashtags, date ranges, keywords and places.

How can emergency management use it? To search directly in Twitter for information related to your EEIs. A third-party tool like TweetDeck or Hootsuite can also be used to conduct advanced social media listening of Tweets using hashtags, geotags, and other metadata. Numerous APIs exist to leverage custom built apps to analyze Tweets.

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What is it? Periscope is a live video streaming app.

How can emergency management use it? To view live streams of public video from the disaster area by searching for broadcasts by location.

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What is it? Airbnb allows users of the site to search for available rentals by location.

How can emergency management use it? To search directly in Airbnb to see the available rental stock and emergency housing availability

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What is it? The Gas Buddy mobile app lets users search locations to see the availability and prices of fuel.

How can emergency management use it? To search directly in the platform for information on fuel availability.

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G Suite

What is it? G Suite is a suite of collaborative productivity apps that offers your organization email, shared calendars, online document editing and storage, video meetings, and more.

How can emergency management use it? G Suite's tools can be adapted for incident management, documentation, and accountability. With emergency managers and responders working in numerous locations, the use of Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and other apps can enable real-time collaboration before, during, and after an incident.

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Google Alerts

What is it? Google Alerts is a content change detection and notification service. The service sends emails to the user when it finds new results—such as web pages, newspaper articles, blogs, or scientific research—that match the user's search term.

How can emergency management use it? Google Alerts for specific terms related to an incident can help aggregate incident related information and keep users up to date as new information becomes available

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Street View

What is it? Street View, by Google Maps, is a virtual representation of our surroundings on Google Maps, consisting of millions of panoramic images. Street View’s content comes from two sources - Google and contributors.

How can emergency management use it? To get a more accurate representation of what an area looks like or looked like before damage

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Google My Business

What is it? Google My Business is a free tool that lets business owners control information, like hours of operation, on Google Search and Google Maps.

How can emergency management use it? When disasters strike businesses can easily change their hours letting customers and emergency managers know the status of businesses in the community. This information can be way for emergency managers to estimate the status of local businesses.

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Google Maps

What is it? Google Maps provides real time traffic information and wait times at businesses.

How can emergency management use it? To identify traffic congestion and search for wait times stores. Maps also allows users to contribute information.

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Google Translate

What is it? Google Translate works in over 100 languages translating images, speech, writing and text. Translate works with contributors to help improve the service.

How can emergency management use it? To translate quickly when the need to understand a different language arises

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What is it? Waze allows users of the app to get real-time traffic routing to their destination. Any user can also contribute to the map.

How can emergency management use it? To get a snapshot of traffic and hazards in their area as well as contribute to the map. Responders can leverage the Waze app to circumvent disasters hazards and closed roads using the crowdsourced map.

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What is it? OpenStreetMap is a free, editable map of the whole world that is being built by volunteers largely from scratch and released with an open-content license. The OpenStreetMap License allows free (or almost free) access to map images and all of our underlying map data. The project aims to promote new and interesting uses of this data.

How can emergency management use it? To get the most up to date building and road network data after a disaster

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