Google Maps update to include improved SOS alerts for natural calamity

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Bhaswati Sarkar
Bhaswati Sarkar
She is a feminist pursuing a M.A. degree. She likes to lose herself in music and daydreams quite often. Travelling excites her and photography is her passion- nature is her favorite subject. Writing is cathartic for her. A happy-go-lucky kind of person, she tries to remain calm and serene through daily life.

Google has taken a move to improve SOS alerts on Maps and Search. According to the blog post by Product Manager of Google Maps, Hannah Stulberg, “visual information about natural disasters and a new navigation warning system has been incorporated into Google Maps update.”

This update brings with it detailed visualizations about hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods that would provide a better understanding of such disasters and its impact.

This would also help people get reliable knowledge of the location of the disaster and anticipate its next destination.

Crisis notification cards about hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods will alert the user about such natural disasters.

In the days leading up to a hurricane, you’ll see a crisis notification card on Google Maps that automatically appears if you’re near the impacted area. This card will direct you to a hurricane forecast cone, which shows the prediction of the storm’s trajectory along with information about what time it’s likely to hit certain areas, so you can use this information to plan how to react – Hannah Stulberg, Product Manager, Google Maps

If a user is situated at or near an earthquake-affected zone, the crisis card will present the earthquake’s shakemap that displays the epicenter, magnitude, intensity and other characteristics of that earthquake. Color-coding has been included so as indicate the intensity of shaking in the affected areas and the nearby areas and help gauge the impact of the earthquake.

Flood crisis notification cards will provide flood forecasts along with showing areas that are likely to be affected and the expected severity of impact in different areas.

Hurricane forecast cards and earthquake shakemaps will start being available very soon on Android, iOS, desktop and mobile web.

Flood forecasts will soon be available on Android, desktop and mobile webs in India- initially in Patna and later on in the Ganga and Brahmaputra regions.

Another upcoming update that is to be here in a few months time will contain crisis navigation warnings on Google Maps. Crisis navigation warnings would alert the user about potential disruption in their route due to natural disasters, and would also determine a less-disruptive route. 

Moreover, a person can also share their location, see and report road closures and share crisis information (like summary, visualizations, emergency contact) directly with their friends and acquaintances, in order to make things more efficient.

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