Google Takes Note Of Minnesota Bridge Collapse

    August 3, 2007

Credit for these developments may not go to Google itself as much as to the company’s Maps users, but in either case, Google appears to be doing what it can; a new post on the Google LatLong Blog highlights various happenings related to the Minnesota bridge collapse.

“Here are some user-created maps that we hope are useful to those affected by the tragedy,” writes Jess Lee, a Google Maps product manager.  The first one, titled “35W Bridge,” shows “[p]hotos, links to news articles, meeting point locations, contact information for nearby hospitals, and prayer service schedules.”

Next up is a sort of “back to business” (or perhaps “back to family”) link about “[t]raffic information such as closed lanes and exits.”

It’s all very reminiscent of the response to Britain’s floods – lots of user-generated maps, and a helpful post from the folks at Google to make the maps more visible.  Admittedly, the tragedy in Minnesota isn’t as much of an ongoing problem as those floods were, but that only highlights the versatility of Google Maps.  Lee touches on this issue by adding, “More information can be found by searching for terms like ‘35W detour’ within the user-created content on Google Maps.”

On a slight side note: while watching television coverage of the bridge collapse, I saw a number of images from Google Earth.