Monday 7th September, 2009
1:45pm to 1:45pm
In times of emergency, accurate online maps can often prove critical in saving lives. This year the outbreak of bush fires in Australia, the emergence of the Swine Flu epidemic and the political revolt in Iran have all helped to underline some of the logistical problems in providing online maps in times of emergency.
The public's demand for immediate data during times of emergency can cause huge logistical problems for response agencies. Some of the biggest spikes in search traffic for online maps occurs during times of emergency. In trying to meet this demand agencies often struggle to cope with:
a surge in demand that puts excessive pressure on servers
copyright issues that can affect the speed of response
the accuracy of emerging data
Being able to show the location and availability of resources such as transportation, hospitals and emergency services during a crisis situation can be critical. Government agencies are often the most likely to have accurate data. However, these same government agencies often struggle to meet the demand placed on their servers during times of emergency.
The most successful online response maps are often produced from a partnership between the public sector and private companies. These partnerships can, however, be hampered by copyright issues to do with government owned data.
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