The City of New York utilized its Open Data platform to help residents deal with the effects of Hurricane Sandy. The effort, which is part of the Digital Road Map the City launched last year, integrates geographic information systems (GIS), social media and other private and public assets to inform New Yorkers about the dangers posed by the storm. Highlights of the program include a Hurricane Evacuation Map and an accompanying Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder residents can use to see if their location is at-risk of flooding and plan an evacuation.

NYC.gov’s Hurricane Evacuation Map

Click on image to activate interactive map features. Source: NYC.gov

The lessons the City learned from last year’s Hurricane Irene helped shape the mission and design of NYC Open Data. That event highlighted the need for government assets and information to be made available across multiple platforms in real-time. By making all manner of data available to the public, information the City tries to disseminate to the public in an emergency situation can reach a broader audience. In fact, several major media outlets are using the NYC Open Data platform to construct their own maps, allowing the City to expand exposure to its efforts at little to no cost.

As New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg explains, the Digital Road Map reflects a concerted effort by the City to set an example for how municipalities can lead the way when it comes to open data initiatives. “New York City’s Digital Road Map: Progress and Innovation demonstrates the strides we have made to date, propelled by a vibrant technology industry, a strong social media presence, infrastructure improvements, and historic investments in education,” Bloomberg said.

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