Aug 16

Tim O'Reilly

Tim O'Reilly

Google Earth and Emergency Aid

According to an entry on, Google Earth just played a role in helping to target air drops of relief supplies in Gujarat, which was hit with serious flooding. The entry cites an Ahmedabad newspaper:

If [officials] could have struck upon this idea before, it would have helped many more people as carpet air-dropping of aid leads to lots of wastage. Using this tool, it was easy to identify buildings and other landmarks.

Sometimes people complain that Web 2.0 is just a consumer internet thing. But stories like this remind us that the increased intelligence available to ordinary people can have worldchanging consequences. In this particular case, it was two ordinary people who persuaded the air force to use Google Earth to better target their aid and rescue efforts.

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Comments: 3

  john scott [08.16.06 09:20 AM]

check out for more thing slike this, next week.

Organizations and individuals participating in Strong Angel III are volunteering their time and resources to explore innovations in humanitarian response capabilities. This is not a trade show or a technology fair, with vendor booths, demos, and product literature. Nor is it an Exercise in the usual sense, with teams of first responders and a highly-scripted scenario. Instead, SA-III will focus on simulating those aspects of post-disaster conditions that specifically impact communication, information sharing, and coordination. The week-long demonstration will consist of a series of collaborative technical and non-technical experiments based on both lessons learned in past disasters and on emerging requirements for integrated operations. They are designed to test the interoperability, reliability, and flexibility of proposed social and technical solutions. Strong Angel III is a chance for vendors, humanitarian practitioners, First Responders, the military, and community leaders to explore capabilities, inter-operability, usability, and deployment with the specific intent that the solutions proposed be accessible globally. Strong Angel will provide an adverse environment designed to maximize learning, sharing and experimentation.

folks participating include:
* Microsoft
* Cisco Systems
* Bell Canada
* Google
* Naval Postgraduate School
* Sprint Nextel
* Save the Children
* Office of the Secretary of Defense
* CommsFirst

  falcon [08.16.06 08:12 PM]

Google earth also played a very important role in the recent earthquake in Pakistan. I understand many aid agencies, inside and outside the country made us of it. Almost immediately after the earthquake, map layers were made available with the quake sites pin-pointed. Shortly thereafter, more detaild maps were provided.

  Brent [08.17.06 06:42 PM]

On a related note, a few weeks back at SIGGRAPH I saw an excellent demo of Google Earth's use in examining the effects of Israeli air strikes in Lebanon.

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