5 Ways Web Content Played a Critical Role in Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

Hurricane Sandy caused massive damage to parts of the East Coast of the United States on October 29, 2012, and images from the storm damage are still spreading across the web each day. In fact, the internet and social media played important parts in enabling communications during and after Hurricane Sandy.

People around the world have been turning to tools like Twitter to share what is happening on the ground during times of emergencies for the past several years, and companies that have the ability to offer their own form of help during these types of emergencies are getting on board, too. There are many examples of this that came out of Hurricane Sandy, but five examples are shared below to show you how important the publishing of content and conversations in real-time has become during emergencies.

1. Twitter Hashtags

One of the first places that many people turn to for information about emergencies is Twitter, and the Twitter hashtag #sandy was used to share information, offer help, communicate, and more. The #sandy hashtag was also used extensively on Instagram. By the afternoon of October 29th, the #sandy hashtag had been used with 233,000 image uploads on Instagram alone.

twitter hashtag sandy graph

2. Google CrisisMap

Google CrisisMaps are a brilliant concept. For example, the Superstorm Sandy CrisisMap provides real-time information about emergency alerts, power outages, road conditions damage assessments, gas availability, shelters, and more. Some of this information is visible directly through the Google CrisisMap, and some is acccessible via links to external maps such as a ConEdison real-time power outage map. You can see how the map looks today with yellow and orange shaded areas representing areas that FEMA has declared disaster areas and pink and blue dots representing areas determined to have suffered significant damage. The red circles represent areas without power.

Click to view the image at full-size or follow the link above to view the map at its source.

Google Crisis Map Superstorm Sandy

3. Google Relief Map

Google also fosters the crowdsourcing of helpful information from individuals and companies. For example, Visual.ly created a Hurricane Sandy NYC Relief and Volunteering Opportunities map that offers updated locations and details about locations across New York City where people can either find help or volunteer in relief efforts.

Click to view the image at full size or follow the link above to view the map at its source.

Google Sandy NYC Relief Map

4. WNYC Evacuation Zones and Storm Surge Maps

WNYC published online maps of evacuation zones and expected storm surge levels for the New York City area to help people plan for the storm.

Click to view the image at full size or follow the link above to view the map at its source.

wnyc sandy nyc evacuation zones map

5. NY MTA Subway Map

The New York MTA was faced with an unprecedented shut-down of service from Hurricane Sandy. Service maps were published online and updated as new lines opened. The animated gif from WNYC below shows the return of subway service to New York City.

Source: Visual.ly

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