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Google launches 'crisis map' to track Hurricane Sandy

Public alerts, including evacuation notices, storm warnings, and more are also available via the application

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Google has launched an interactive “crisis map” to track the path of Hurricane Sandy and provide updated emergency information as it approaches the US east coast.

The map is using data from the US Naval Research Laboratory, the National Hurricane Center, US weather website weather.com and the US Geological Survey, to track the location of the storm and provide evacuation information.

The map can be used to view radar and cloud imagery, as well as storm footage and storm-related YouTube videos, curated by Storyful.

Google has also launched a map specific to New York City, featuring evacuation zone information from NYC Open Data, open shelters, weather information and live webcams.

“Some are calling the hurricane 'Frankenstorm' due to its potential mix of both winter and tropical cyclone weather,” wrote Ka-Ping Yee, software engineer at Google's Crisis Response team, in a blog post.

“Regardless of what you call it, we hope that you get the information you need to make preparations and stay safe if you are in the area.”

Google's Crisis Response team has been responding to natural disasters since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 by making information such as storm paths, shelter locations, emergency numbers, and donation opportunities easily accessible.

Previous responses include the Thailand floods in October 2011, the Japan earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in July 2010.

Google was forced to cancel an event in New York today, at which it planned to launch the Nexus 4 smartphone and a new version of its Jelly Bean operating system.

Campaigning for the US presidential election has also been disrupted, eight days ahead of election day.



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