Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Google Hurricane Response 2010



Click Here to Play in Full Screen 720p HD

It has been another remarkable year for those of us in the geospatial community. Looking back, we've learned a lot as we strive to make an impact for the good of all with our technology, particularly in times of crisis. Sadly there have been many crises this year from which to learn, be they war, drought, fire, earthquake, political revolution, oil spill, etc.

I don't know, maybe the world has always been this turbulent. Maybe now we just notice it more because we are all hyper-connected and can freely pass information around the world at an unprecedented rate. That is of course, when all the lines of communication are up and operating optimally. 

We've learned however that far too often, in times of crisis, those lines of communication fall apart. Sometimes, we forget that there are parts of this world that are still years, if not decades, away from broadband internet. Still, we expect our soldiers, our humanitarians, our first responders and our volunteers to head off into these situations to get whatever job needs to get done done.

At Google, we've worked with these awe-inspiring individuals as our customers, our friends, and even our own family members and we've learned a lot about what doesn't work for them in that last tactical mile or when some natural disaster has wiped out infrastructure.


When we heard the reports about the National Hurricane Center's dire prediction for the 2010 Hurricane Season we made a conscious decision to be proactive and be prepared rather than waiting and reacting if and when one of these storms threatens to make landfall this summer. 

To that end we built a Google Earth Enterprise 4.0 globe, which is detailed in the video above, precisely designed to generate Google Earth Enterprise Portable globes in the event of a major hurricane. The globe is built from 103 counties worth of United States Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency National Aerial Imagery Program acquired from the USDA Geospatial Gateway county imagery mosaics and extracted vector data from the Open Street Map project. Portable globes can be cut from this globe extremely quickly and be distributed days or even hours before landfall if the storm makes an unanticipated deviation in course.

If a major Hurricane threatens the US this year, we are ready to help. Please watch the video above to learn more about this effort and please feel free to contact the Google Hurricane team at google-hurricane-2010@googlegroups.com should you have any questions or would like more information.

1 comment:

Forrest said...

Sean,
Its been awhile since I've seen a blog with that title. I hope you are doing well. Sounds like you are having fun with the Google folks.
Forrest Sweasy