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Tracking Isaac with Google's crisis map

August 27, 2012|By Deborah Netburn
  • A screen grab of the Tropical Storm Isaac crisis map put together by Google.
A screen grab of the Tropical Storm Isaac crisis map put together by Google. (Google )

Tropical Storm Isaac appears to be making a beeline for New Orleans and the southern coast of Louisiana. And the National Weather service warns that by the time the storm makes landfall late Tuesday or early Wednesday, it will no longer be a tropical storm, but a Category 1 hurricane.

Many across the nation are crossing their fingers that those in the projected path of the storm will stay safe. Google however, has done something more concrete: The company's crisis response team has created a map that provides information about, among other things, where the storm is headed, wind-speed probabilities, locations of and live feeds from webcams, current traffic conditions, active shelters and evacuation routes.

PHOTOS: Bracing for Isaac

The data on the map come from a variety of sources, including the National Weather Service,, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center and the Florida Division of Emergency Management. 

You can choose what information you'd like to display by checking and unchecking boxes in the "Layers list" on the right side of the map. For example, users who may be hit by the storm can use the map to find nearby shelters or figure out if the storm is headed their way; those of us who do not live in Isaac's projected path nearby can watch the storm via the live webcams.

The Google team created similar maps during other times of crisis, including Hurricane Irene, which hit the East Coast in June 2011; the devastating Haiti earthquake in January 2010 and 2007's California wildfires.

The first time Google created a map of this sort was in August 2005, for Hurricane Katrina.


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