Even as severe cyclonic storm Phailin is feared to cause widespread devastation in coastal Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, Google has come out with its virtual platforms to educate the people in the affected region on the course of the cyclone and aid the victims to find out their relatives.
The internet giant has made available its 'Person Finder' application for cyclone Phailin using which the cyclone-affected people can reconnect with their families. Person Finder is an open-source software which allows individuals to post and search for the status of their friends and relatives affected by a disaster.
Besides, the crisis response team at Google has developed crowd-sourced maps of the areas that are expected to be affected by cyclone Phailin. The maps that have been set up by netizens known as 'digital humanitarian volunteers' or ‘CrisisMappers’, displays the areas that are expected to be worst-affected by the cyclone, and would also mark the shelters, power outages and other resources. Google has also made available a cyclone volunteer spreadsheet which contains the list of the volunteers, their contact phone numbers and shelters available in the affected areas of both the states.
All these Google platforms have come quite handy during the natural disasters such as hurricane, landslide and earthquakes in different parts of the globe. In the recent past, both these tools were used quite extensively during the Uttarakhand floods and Haiti earthquake.
During the Uttarakhand flooding and landslide in July this year, Google had launched a crisis map with road information, locations of relief camps and medical centers. Similarly, the Google Crisis Response team had launched a crisis map with emergency-related information during the flooding in Alberta, Canada in June this year. In May this year, Google had also launched a crisis map in response to the devastating tornado that struck the Oklahoma City.