FEMA’s Latest Android Update Adds Social Crowdsourcing to Disaster Reporting

FEMA’s latest app feature came out in its Android update this week – a social tool for disaster efforts that allows anyone to upload geotagged photos of ongoing disasters. In addition to location specific images, users can also add a small description of the images prior to submission., All photos go through an approval process to ensure authenticity and then placed on a publicly accessible map for everyone to view.

In a statement to Mashable, Craig Fugate, FEMA’s adminsistrator said, “The public is a resource and oftentimes the initial and first reports we get are people putting up information, from tweets, from Flickr. Rather than waiting for that to come up, they would be doing that in the app that will allow it to be shared with other responders.” The next logical step is to use social crowdsourcing to fund  disaster relief efforts.

The update and Disaster Reporter feature  is currently only available for Android and is downloadable in the Google Play Store. FEMA’s iPhone app comes with the basic features, but does not include the latest update.

The FEMA App (smartphone app for mobile devices) contains disaster safety tips, an interactive emergency kit list, emergency meeting location information, and a map with open shelters and open FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs).