Google's Person Finder, open source software that allows individuals to post and search for the status of relatives or friends affected by a disaster, has been set up for cyclone Phailin. All data entered into Google Person Finder is available to the public and searchable and accessible by anyone.
Visit http://google.org/personfinder/2013-phailin/ to view the website. You can click on 'I am looking for someone' or 'I have information on someone' and add details into the software.
The Crisis Respone Google website has created a crowd-sourced maps of volunteers offering shelter in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Clicking on the shelter or red cross gives more details about the shelter and hospital in the area. The maps are also highlighting the intensity of the cyclone at different spots. All the data shown on the map is crowdsourced from publicly visible webpages of news websites, forums, social media, blogs, Wikipedia and government sites.
Crisis map 1: http://google.org/crisismap/2013-phailin
The maps have been set up by netizens who call themselves 'digital humanitarian volunteers' or so called CrisisMappers. The online volunteers along with on-the-ground relief mates from different places, including volunteers of StandBy Task Force, OpenCrisis, Info4Disasters, ERCIS, CrisisMappersUK etc and several students from universities and research centers including Kno.e.sis and QCRI are working on the map.
A spreadsheet of volunteer-driven relief coordination is also available at: Phailin Cyclone Volunteer spreadsheet. It has a list of volunteer names, numbers and shelters available in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.
The program can be used by press agencies, non-governmental agencies and others contribute to the database and receive updates. Websites can choose to embed Google Person Finder as a gadget on their own pages. Google Person Finder is open source software meaning that any developer can create their own instance of Google Person Finder after a disaster.
The Google Crisis Response team has helped use tools like the Crisis Map and Google People Finder in disasters like Haiti earthquake and Uttarakhand floods in the past.
In 2013, it was used for the following disasters:
Uttarakhand flooding, July 15, 2013: After heavy flooding in Uttarakhand, Google worked with responders on the ground to launch a crisis map with road information, and the locations of relief camps and medical centers.
Alberta flooding, June 22, 2013: As flooding continues to affect Alberta, the Google Crisis Response team has launched a new crisis map with emergency-related information.
Oklahoma tornadoes, May 24, 2013: In response to the devastating 2-mile wide tornado that struck the Oklahoma City region, Google’s Crisis Response team launched a crisis map for the event, which includes Red Cross shelters, traffic alerts, storm reports and other information.
Boston bombings, April 15, 2013: In response to the bombing of the Boston marathon, Google launched Person Finder to help those affected find and reconnect with friends and loved ones.
Jakarta flooding, January 17, 2013: The Google Crisis Response team assembled a response page and crisis map to track the flooding in Jakarta, and provide information and emergency resources to those affected.