Hurricane Sandy has generated a lot of media, which is not surprising considering it’s the biggest storm to hit the East Coast of the US in recorded history.
But in the aftermath of its destruction, amidst the pictures of heroism, damage, New York City in a total blackout and the obligatory brand faux pax that goes with any major event gaining digital attention, there are some very cool things being done online to help people make sense of the storm and deal with the consequences.
First up is Instacane, a site which indiscriminately pulls together images from Instagram. By tracking related hashtags you see the full gamut of what people are taking pictures of. No moderation or editing, so it makes for an interesting mix.
Google has released an evacuation route capability with its map service to help people find their way through the destruction left in the aftermath of the storm, updated with information fed directly through from Government agencies like the National Weather Service.
“We are OK” was the most common status update in the US after the worst of the storm hit, replacing “Stay safe” from the day before. Check out the full list provided to Mashable by Facebook here. It’s cool to see people letting everyone know they’re safe and unharmed, and able to let everyone know in one simple update rather than dozens of calls that could put strain on a crippled network.
There’s also an amazing article from The Economic Times about how people, government agencies, NGO’s and companies used Twitter to co-ordinate rescue, handle emergencies and disseminate useful information.
Then there’s a professor of civic media at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who whas put some simple tools to work to get coders (using the hashtag #hurricaneHackers) working on useful crowdsourced information about the storm, but is also trying to use the couchsurfing concept to help people who are going to be needing a roof and a place to sleep while there homes are repaired or new ones found. Check out Sasha Costanza-Chock’s idea here: SandyCrashPads, SandyTimeLine and SandyStreaming.
And lastly, amidst the reality, the humour and the horror, you are also going to get the fake. This Mashable article debunks a couple of the images doing the rounds that aren’t authentic storm images.