Google Maps To Provide Critical Information in Areas Afflicted by Natural Disasters

Google Maps has often been criticised for being a bloaty mess that is chock full of features that nobody uses. But it isn't all bad though. Every now and then, Google makes sure to give its navigation app some essential features; the most recent being an in-app speedometer and information about speed limits before that. Soon, Google Maps will be able to provide important information to people in or near areas affected by hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods. Dubbed as crisis notification cards, the new cards will detail the area of effect of the event. Users can share the information or their own location with others. According to Google's blog post:

Today, we’re improving SOS alerts by adding visual information about natural disasters and a new navigation warning system on Google Maps so you can more reliably know where a disaster is and anticipate where it’s headed. Read on to learn about what’s changing, along with three ways to help you stay connected and informed during times of emergency.

Hurricane crisis notification cards will show a path of the storm's trajectory along with times it's predicted to hit specific locations. This should give anyone in the path of the hurricanes enough time to evacuate. There will be cards showing a colour-coded shakemap for earthquakes. Flood forecasts will work similarly to those for hurricanes, with maps showing the predicted danger in different areas. The alerts will make their debut in India, where nearly 20% of the world's total flood-related deaths take place.

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In the coming months, Maps will also show a distinct alert when the route you're travelling is disrupted by "crisis activity," and you'll be directed to take an alternate route. Both of these will start showing up in the next few weeks on Android, iOS, and desktop and mobile web.

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