Overview of Google Earth and Disasters

Year after year, natural and man-made disasters cause billions of dollars of damage and also account for the loss of many lives. Damage to communication lines or roadways often prevents information concerning where aid is most needed from getting to people who are ready to help. Though this process of assessing a post-disaster situation has typically been painstakingly long, Google Earth has helped to bring relief more efficiently and quickly. With its high-quality aerial and satellite imagery and platform for layers of data, Google Earth has provided the necessary relief information for rescuers during previous disasters. Though the technology is relatively new and still developing, current applications already include not only post-disaster information, but also visualization and analytical tools that show the predicted outcomes of potential catastrophes that can help save lives by preparing people. (For more information on Google Earth, visit http://sites.duke.edu/tlge/ )