Crowdsourcing in Emergency Managment

FEMA -Federal Emergency Management Administration has added a new app on the Android platform which “crowdsources” data in emergency situations.  One of the biggest issues after a big emergency situation like a tornado, wildfire or other similar disruptive event is getting damage information.  It is very difficult to get information which is used to help responders figure out where to send their resources first.

The app’s major new feature is called “Disaster Reporter,” which allows users to submit disaster-related images to be publicly hosted on the FEMA website. You can add short text descriptions to photos, which then go through a basic approval process to ensure images are relevant and do not disclose any user’s personal information. The images are then posted on a map for public viewing.

FEMA Director Craig Fugate says:  “The public is a resource and oftentimes the initial and first reports we get are people putting up information, from tweets, from Flickr,” Fugate said. “Rather than waiting for that to come up, they would be doing that in the app that will allow it to be shared with other responders.”

I downloaded it to my phone. I think it could help in a disaster scenario.

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I'm the Chief of Police for the Auburn Hills Police Department.