AlertMap: Cutting-Edge Emergency And Disaster Information Tool

If you’re even remotely interested in emergency information, check out AlertMap. This disaster-focused mashup pulls together data from some 600 sources to provide an amazingly valuable service.

The tool, from a Hungarian non-governmental organization, is an exceptional source for up-to-date worldwide disaster information .

AlertMap displays 55 categories of emergencies and disasters from fires, to avian flu, to biological terror attacks. Sources include the U.S. Geological Survey, the World Health Organization, the International Volcano Research Centre, and asteroid information is even provided by NASA.

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Clicking on an icon takes you to more information on the location, severity and status of the incident.

For example, I noticed an "epidemic hazard" shown in Toronto (turns out it was about 8 passengers of an Air Canada flight from Tel Aviv being quarantined recently), I clicked on the icon. This took me to an event summary screen with basic information on the incident and a whole series of tabs with more details.

For example, I was able to see the population within 20km of the incident location (4,612,191), the airports, ports and nuclear power plants within 100km and a Google map of the area.

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Right now, AlertMap is tracking about 50 recent incidents in addition to 13 earthquakes within the last 24 hours and 27 active volcanoes.

You can export much of this information easily. While the Google maps (bizarrely) aren’t embeddable, there are plenty of easily accessible RSS feeds and you can export data to Google Earth. For the less tech-savvy, you can get immediate email alerts of breaking incidents.

This is a topic I’ve become increasingly interested in. Last year I presented on California’s use of web 2.0 in response to the California wildfires, and my new job involves work in this area too.

Have you come across any resources similar to this? What are your favourite emergency information tools?

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