Mapping enthusiasts are using Google Maps and Google Earth and other data to compile maps of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.
One Web site, www.scipionus.com, is combating the confusion by encouraging users to annotate a Google Map of New Orleans with information about specific locations. Collectively, the community is creating a collaborative map Wikipedia. Anyone with something to add can enter a street address and leave a marker on the map at that location, providing a few lines of text about conditions at that spot.
In a separate effort, other Web users have also made use of satellite photographs of the region available through the Google Earth service, a program which allows users to view satellite photos as if they were flying over them, panning, zooming and tilting the image at will. While most of those photos depict the area pre-hurricane, the software allows users to "overlay" other photos and images. So more recent aerial photos--even pictures from news services and solo photographers--can be reshaped and dropped onto a satellite map, illustrating the current conditions.
[Source: Forbes - Google Is Everywhere
On a related note, aerial and satellite images of disaster locations
are available for free from ClobeXplorer.
Abhijeet Chavan is co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of Planetizen.