FEMA expands disaster crowdsourcing
- By Mark Rockwell
- Dec 18, 2013
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expanding its wireless crowdsourcing disaster-recovery information services with an application that lets users pinpoint damage using their smart phone's GPS.
The new feature, set to be unveiled by BAE Systems and Eye Street Solutions Inc. on Dec. 17, is an add-on to FEMA’s official mobile app aimed at enhancing situational awareness for citizens, first responders, emergency managers and recovery teams during or following a disaster.
The app's new Disaster Reporter feature allows users to upload photos and report incident information from their smartphones – making good on announcement FEMA made last summer promising an app that would allow users to upload photos of hard-hit areas.
BAE said the new add-on allows reports and photos uploaded via cell phone to be pinpointed on an interactive map, using the GPS technology in users' smartphones. The feature was developed alongside FEMA's Digital Engagement team, BAE said in a statement.
Tracking the sprawling damage done by major s a difficult challenge for emergency responders and community relief volunteers. Crowdsourcing gives FEMA the ability to quickly provide real-time images and intelligence to the people who need it to make decisions on when and where to deploy resources, BAE officials said.
The Disaster Reporter feature is available for the Android and iOS versions of the FEMA app.
Mark Rockwell is a staff writer covering acquisition, procurement and homeland security. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.