Google Crisis Response

For Responders

Use online technology to quickly reach people in need and to efficiently run your internal operations during a crisis. We recommend you implement these best practices and try out some of the Google tools highlighted below.

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During a crisis, individuals go online to search for the latest emergency information. Google has created a platform to disseminate relevant emergency alerts to users when and where they’re searching for them. Public Alerts are available on Search, Maps and Google Now. Learn MoreAs a response organization, you can use Public Alerts to get your information to the public. Contact us if you're interested in participating. You can get a head start by following these 4 steps:

  • Get your alerts into the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP 1.2) standard using some of the resources we created to help you with this process (most commercial alert pushing tools support CAP already)
  • Validate that you’ve set-up your feeds correctly
  • Subscribe your alerts to Google Alert Hub and check that they’re working
  • Contact us when you’re ready using this form so we can start on the next steps. You may still be able to work with us even if your alert data does not currently conform to the CAP standard.

Resources

Google Public Alerts homepage - See all alerts

Google Public Alerts Overview [pdf]

CAP and Google Public Alerts overview [pdf]

CAP information - Read about CAP 1.2

CAP Library - Get tips on implementing CAP

CAP Validator tool - Ensure your feeds work

Alert Hub - Submit to our alert syndication service

Following a crisis, people often get separated, and responders play a role in helping people locate one another. Google Person Finder, launched by the Google Crisis Response team, helps with this process by providing an open platform for individuals and organizations to let people know who they’re looking for and to enter updates about missing persons. As an organization you can:

  • Embed Google Person Finder in your website to allow people to directly access and use the tool
  • Download data from Google Person Finder to match with your information or take to the field
  • Upload data you’ve collected into Google Person Finder

In a crisis, users have diverse information needs and limited time to learn new tools. Crisis Map, a mashup tool built on the familiar Google Maps API, aims to put critical disaster-related geographic data in context, and in a map-based viewing frame optimized for usability across a range of browsers and mobile devices. With Crisis Map you can do the following:

  • Explore disaster-related geographic data without any special software or GIS expertise required
  • Embed a Google Crisis Map on your website
  • Share a crisis map with co-workers, media outlets, and partners
  • Interact and download data from a crisis map
  • Contribute data to be included on a crisis map

While many people are familiar with Google Maps for finding directions, responders can also easily create custom Google maps, using Google Maps Engine, when they need to supply critical crisis information to their teams or to the public. Use Google Maps Engine to:

  • Mark crisis information such as road closures and resources such as emergency medical stations
  • Draw lines and shapes to highlight paths and areas that are covered in debris
  • Set map permissions to control sharing -- publicly, or privately within your network.
  • Import CSV, e.g. from a spreadsheet, to host on Google’s servers and customize

Create, collaborate, and continually update critical information online from any computer at any point in time. Use Google Docs to:

  • Share and collaborate in real time with volunteers, co-workers, and partner organizations, eliminating the need to email updated attachments back and forth
  • Safely store your work where it’s not vulnerable to a damaged or left-behind laptop
  • Edit and access online, from anywhere, at any time

Gather, visualize and share data online with your staff and other response organizations and constituents. Use Google Fusion Tables to:

  • Visualize your data from shelter lists to power outages instantly as a map or a chart.
  • Identify data patterns to aid in crisis decision making
  • Show the world your work in real time by embedding your map or chart in a web page
  • Collaborate with other responders by merging your data, allowing you to see all important related information in one place

Google Earth is a virtual globe and geographical information platform. See the places you are working in or traveling to in great geographic detail. Customize Google Earth with editing tools to draw shapes, add text, and integrate live feeds of information such as earthquakes as they happen. Use Google Earth to:

  • Compare pre- and post-disaster images of an impacted location
  • Explore the places you are working through the many information layers built into Google Earth, or through files (KMLs) that you download from the Gallery or other websites
  • Add markers and customize them with text, photos, and videos - only you can see the things you add until you save them as a KML file and share them with others