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Britain’s Floods Get Mapped By Google

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Over the past week or so, Britain has been hit by some really nasty flooding – the worst in 60 years.  Fortunately, no deaths or serious injuries have been reported, and it’s possible that Google helped bring about this positive outcome.

Google and Oliver Williams, that is; Williams, who works for BBC Berkshire, constructed a Google Map to track the flooding.  “We’re trying to keep it updated around the clock with the latest flood warnings for Berkshire alongside photos, video and audio from visitors to the site and our own reporters,” he wrote following Ed Parsons’s coverage of the map.

Parsons acts as Google’s “Geospatial Technologist,” so maybe it’s not too surprising that he would deal with this development.   But bigmouthmedia and the Guardian Unlimited, which are based in the UK, have also taken note of Williams’s map.  Bobbie Johnson called it “a powerful example of how data can be pooled online and added to by individuals.”   Similar creations have since been made to show where safe drinking water can be found.

So Williams certainly deserves a pat on the back (as do the other maps’ authors).   As for Google’s role in all of this . . .  “May I say the Google Map is holding up remarkably well and serving exactly the purpose I had in mind – very flexible and brilliant for illustrating exactly which rivers are in trouble,” Williams wrote.

“My only gripe . . . is that there’s a limit of 100 markers before you get a second ‘page’ of them,” he continued.  “Then you have to move between pages to see the markers and that’s less than ideal, so I have to keep the number below 100.  But you can’t have it all, especially when it’s free!”   And especially, perhaps, when Google Maps was never designed to be a crisis-management tool.

Best wishes to Britain.

Britain’s Floods Get Mapped By Google
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