Approximately two weeks after Hurricane Harvey, another major storm is expected to make landfall this weekend in Florida. Following relief efforts in Texas, Google Maps will be marking closed roads in real-time to help with evacuation efforts.
At a press conference this morning (via The Verge), Florida governor Rick Scott announced the effort between state officials and Google:
We are coordinating with Google’s emergency response team to prepare to close roads in Google Maps in real-time in the event that Hurricane Irma forces a closure of any roads in the aftermath of the storm. You will know if a road is closed.
In recent months, Google’s emergency relief efforts have centered around SOS Alerts in Search and Maps. Those in affected areas will see a special warning in either product with emergency information from local officials, as well as a crisis map.
Hurricane Harvey also saw Waze-sourced maps of shelters and road closure information. However, this approach of working directly with the state will likely result in faster and more accurate data than crowdsourced data.
Historically, Google’s Crisis Response team — a part of Google.org — has worked “to help those affected by crises” by helping nonprofits with funding, volunteers, and using technology.
When crises happen, reacting quickly, effectively, and collaboratively is the only way to help as many people as possible. That’s why we look to give strategic packages of support, including providing nonprofits with short-term and long-term funding or connections to the right volunteers—whether that’s a data scientist or an engineer.