In a move it says will help people quickly access the information they need “in times of crisis,” Google Maps announced the launch of SOS alerts in Canada today.
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The new alerts will help people quickly access “authoritative, real-time information” in those crucial moments immediately following a disaster – such as an earthquake.
How it works
After an earthquake strikes, tapping on the crisis card will display the earthquake’s “shake map” – a visualization that shows you its epicenter, its magnitude, along with colour coding to indicate how intense the shaking was in surrounding areas.
This information can help you quickly assess the reach of the earthquake and and identify areas likely to have experienced the highest impact.
Crisis navigation warnings
In addition, users will soon see “a prominent alert” if their escape route is affected by crisis activity, and when/where possible, the system will direct users away from the disrupted area.
Google Maps also has other ways for people to to stay connected while getting information as quickly as possible.
- Share your location: Letting loved ones know where you are is vital during fast-moving, chaotic situations. From the crisis card, you can share your live location with friends and family for as little as 15 minutes, or until you decide to stop sharing.
- See and report road closures: Turn on the traffic layer to see all known and suspected road closures in an area, along with when the closure was last updated on Android. If you encounter a closure on your drive, you can report it to help others nearby. You can also confirm whether or not a road is still closed with a quick tap.
- Share crisis information directly with the ones you care about: Tap on the share button from the crisis card to keep friends and family up to date about the situation. They’ll be directed to Google Maps where they’ll see all available crisis information – which could include a summary, visualizations, emergency contact information, and more.