Rita and new uses of the Internet

As never before, Hurricane Rita prompted high use of the Internet to inform the general public. This article mentions several.

For example, the Houston Chronicle featured on-site blogging before and during the hurricane from about a dozen “citizen” bloggers. Additionally,

Web surfers were able to get firsthand accounts Friday through podcasts and photographs. They could track the storm using Google-powered maps. And they could find housing and other emergency information from government and private Web sites.

They established a live streaming feed called RitaCast and made arrangements to produce a new personal audio dispatch every hour, each about 20 minutes long. The group was even trying to take calls from listeners — something rare with podcasts.

One interesting item, implied in the article, was as some television stations were flooded out of their offices and newspapers couldn’t operate their paper plants, they turned to webcasting.

BTW, the Washington Post has an excellent interactive map of Rita’s impact (although it did crash Firefox). You also may want to check out FLHurricane.com, which can track the movement of hurricanes on a map. The site combines Google’s map api with data from the National Weather Service. The site’s administrator, Mike Cornelius, wrote software to automatically extract latitude and longitude coordinates from government storm advisories.

Comments are closed.