Helpful new Google Maps feature
Google announced that they have launched a new alert system that adds public safety alerts to your Google Maps search results to help track severe weather, earthquakes or other warnings in the area you are searching.
Now live, users who search for directions or a company in an area under any sort of watch or warning, an alert will appear on the left side of the screen above all results, noted with the orange epicenter symbol that is very easy to spot, offering “more information” with one click.
Google’s alert system links to whichever source is issuing the warning so that affected areas are shown alongside what precautions you should take. So far, Google offers warnings from the National Weather Service, US Geological Survey and US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It is likely more services will be added over time.
Now, when a storm or natural disaster threatens your area or is nearing you, there is no need to turn to a local television station and read through tiny scrolling print – all of the information is instantly available. We tested the new alerts on an Android phone and they rendered with the list of results just as they do through a desktop browser, so warnings are available on the go which is critical in emergencies.
Below is a search for “flood Texas” which showed that Arkansas is currently under a flood warning. When you click “more information” by the public safety alert, you are taken to a page that shows a map, outlining what areas are under the flood warning, what counties and as seen in the third image, precautions and directions are offered and users are offered an explanation of what a flood warning is.
In recent years, disaster victims have relied on websites to learn about warnings, but Google is proactively warning users of any warnings in the area they are searching which is a massive public service that will be helpful, especially as more services are added to the roster. Faster information is better in any time of crisis.