Cadets from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy are putting their Facebook and Twitter skills to good use: they’re creating maps of locations of people who asked for help on social media during Hurricane Harvey.
The maps have been so helpful in Texas that the Coast Guard search and rescue coordinators in New Orleans have asked the cadets to keep it up.
It’s the first time the Coast Guard has used crowd-sourced social media for disaster relief.
Here’s why it’s so important to have the maps of social media sourced during the storm: folks don’t have power anymore. Everyone’s phones are dying. They may not have a way to contact authorities as days go on.
The maps include latitude and longitude coordinates of where the posts originated. When streets are flooded, addresses don’t matter.
Two cadets came up with the idea and are in charge of implementing it. Cadet Evan Twarog of Keene, New Hampshire goes through the data, while Cadet Gabrielle Auzenbergs of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts plots it on a map. They’ve been sending several reports every day this week.
Check out the Coast Guard search and rescue missions at work in Houston, saving lives: