Mobility

FEMA expands disaster crowdsourcing

smartphones

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.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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