During a disaster, these apps can save your life

Oct 1, 2009
Tech

This week’s earthquakes in Indonesia and deadly tsunami in American Samoa, while tragic, illustrate the importance of knowing how to prepare and respond to natural disasters. The iPhone – more than just a tool to entertain and inform – can guide you and your family through potentially catastrophic events including hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes. This […]

This week’s earthquakes in Indonesia and deadly tsunami in American Samoa, while tragic, illustrate the importance of knowing how to prepare and respond to natural disasters. The iPhone – more than just a tool to entertain and inform – can guide you and your family through potentially catastrophic events including hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.

This app prepares for everything
No matter where you are on the globe, Emergency Preparation is a useful digest to carry. Although a bit preachy with global warming and religious messages, the $2.99 app offers 22 potentially life-saving tips ranging from “Emergency Preparedness for a Hurricane” to what to do “When a Volcano Erupts Tomorrow.” The menu for Emergency Preparation is intuitive and easy to navigate. No one would want to adjust the screen size while managing through a calamity.

Track weather patterns before traveling
While often used to forecast inconveniences like airport delays, WeatherX also alerts you to meteorological disruptions that occur all over the world. The $4.99 app pulls its data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and comes with general weather maps and satellite images of where you are or plan to travel. In California and the Southwest United States, for instance, the app illustrates regions currently impacted by forest fires.

If you’re traveling in the U.S., StormTroopers offers a convenient way to watch or read up on extreme weather that develops across the country. The $3.99 app aggregates news, videos and meteorological data that can motivate you to seek shelter from the storms.

Disaster-specific apps

Depending on where you live, you might want more detailed projections or historical information around certain types of disasters. With several weeks of hurricane season remaining, anyone living in or traveling to the Southeast U.S. should consider downloading the $3.99 Hurricane application. The app, not to be confused with Hurricane!, Hurricane. or Hurricane 1, offers satellite views, expected wind-force probabilities, and a color-coded list of active and completed storms.

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At 99 cents, QuakeWatch – Latest Earthquake Info, is one of several apps that detail the time, location and scale of Earthquakes from around the planet. Using data from the U.S. Geological Survey and images from Google Maps, the app detailed the multiple earthquakes that led to this week’s Tsunami.

Help when you can 
As government and philanthropic organizations offer aid to those afflicted by this week’s catastrophes, you might want to research which entities you should direct your support. The free Charity Finder app provides a comprehensive and alphabetized directory of thousands of charitable organizations.

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Brad Spirrison

Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of appoLearning and Appolicious Inc. In this capacity, he has sampled and evaluated thousands of iOS and Android applications. He also holds an M.A. in Education and Media Ecology from New York University.

Spirrison worked in concert with appoLearning Expert and Instructional Technology Specialist Leslie Morris while curating and evaluating educational applications.

A longtime media and technology commentator and executive, Spirrison is also a regular contributor to ABC News, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Bloomberg West and The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Spirrison is married and lives with his wife and young son in Chicago. As his son was born just weeks before the debut of the iPad, Spirrison takes his work home with him and regularly samples and enjoys a variety of educational applications for young children.

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