Folks seeking information on natural disasters or other global emergencies can now access Google Maps for the latest details through a new Google Crisis Response project.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based search giant launched a Google Public Alerts system today to keep users informed of disaster alerts regarding tornadoes, floods, winter and tropical storms, and other hazards menacing throughout the world.

“With today’s launch of Public Alerts on Google Maps, relevant weather, public safety, and earthquake alerts from US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service, and the US Geological Survey (USGS) will be accessible when you search on Google Maps,” announced Google in a blog post.

More information is available below.

The service alerts users to what is happening, when and where it is happening, how critical it is, and which resources are available for immediate assistance. A specific term, name or location of any emergency is also directly searchable on Google Maps.

Users can type “high wind warming” into the Maps’ search bar today to currently reveal a “High Wind Warning in Central Montana” alert, or they can enter “winter storm Alaska” to display an active alert for “Winter Storm Warning in Northern Alaska.” Every result offers a “more info” link to view more details.

The Public Alerts‘ website also shows a list of live warnings throughout the world, with each advisory highlighted on the map. Users can hover over or click on the hotspot to view more information along with advice and safety recommendations. Google’s Crisis Response team throughout various government resources collects and assembles the information for all emergencies.

“The Google Crisis Response team works on providing critical emergency information during crises. Our goal is to surface emergency information through the online tools you use everyday, when that information is relevant and useful,” Google contended.

Google asked users to “Provide Feedback” through the link at the bottom of the Public Alerts’ website, because this is the company’s first attempt at a crisis response service and it is seeking any suggestions.

“We’re learning as we go and we’re working hard to continuously improve the range and relevance of the content you see, so we’d really like your feedback,” Google concluded.

About the Author