Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Disaster Map 'Wiki' Is Born

A Disaster Map 'Wiki' Is Born
By Ryan Singel
Wired News
01:35 PM Sep. 02, 2005 PT
Of all of the websites tracking the Katrina disaster, surely one of the most remarkable is
Visitors swoop down over a map of the Gulf Coast that's awash in hundreds of red teardrops, each denoting information about specific geographical points in the area. That's pretty amazing in itself, but there's more: All of the information on the map has been provided by ordinary citizens, most of whom presumably have come to the site in search of information on the flood themselves.

Since launched Wednesday, it has become a giant visual "wiki" page, attracting tens of thousands of visitors who are collaborating in creating a public document of astonishing detail. "Corner of 1077 and Brewster. Had contact with parents. Lots fo trees down, but no water damage. No electrucity and no phone at the monebt 8/31 2:00pm," reads one of hundreds of entries.
The site is the brainchild of Jonathan Mendez, a 24-year-old computer programmer living in Austin, Texas. Mendez says he grew frustrated combing message boards trying to find out if his family home -- the one his parents and brother had just fled from -- had been destroyed.