Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes — lately, it seems like there’s a new natural disaster wreaking havoc on poor planet Earth every week. From television sets to Twitter streams, it’s impossible to ignore the devastation these disasters leave behind. And, no matter where you’re watching from, it’s hard not to feel just a little bit helpless in the face of such colossal catastrophes. But when it comes to natural disasters, modern technology is making it easier than ever to take control by creating your own emergency response system — no high pitched beeping required. There are tons of apps and websites to help you create emergency preparedness plans, keep in touch during a disaster, and get your life back after one strike. Nothing will keep you safer or saner during a natural disaster than having a good plan in advance. Here are few that can help you out-
NOAA National Hurricane Center. (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/)
ONE application or website that can use for relying on projected storm tracks, then the NOAA National Hurricane Center Website is the one should be bookmarked in PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or other smartphone device. It’s free of cost.
The NHC website contains a massive wealth of up-to-date information. Easy to track and monitor the progress of every single storm in the Eastern Pacific and the Atlantic, read various types of graphical computer models and watch animated satellite and radar maps.
Unfortunately the NHC site looks like it was designed in the early 1990s — there’s no cool Web 2.0 point-and-click GUI, but all the data is there. They’ve got a PDA rendered version of the site which could be use on an iPhone or an Android device, but unless the type that likes to page through raw data, it probably won’t be of much use
However, the basic charts and storm projections should be enough to give a very good idea of where the hurricane is heading and to give up-to-date and reliable information on how its behavior might change.
StormPulse is a great site on a desktop or laptop computer, as the website is Flash-based, so it won’t run on an iOS device.
Like the National Hurricane Center, the website is free, which will allow to look at projected storm tracks using different computer models but it has more advanced Premium features for those that are more storm and hurricane enthusiasts or even meteorological professionals, such as moving satellite imagery loops, “Super Radar” and customizable alerts.
iHurricaneHD is a free App for iOS devices and is distributed as a universal binary for the iPad, iPod Touch and the iPhone.
iHurricaneHD allows to track the progress of current and past storms and uses projection data from the National Hurricane Center. Using the interface, click on each projected location where it displays the hurricane’s estimated speed, heading and approximate distance from the location.
It also allows to view various static satellite maps from the US Navy, GOES and METEOSAT, and provides a better interface to warning and alert information from the NHC than the NHC does with its own website.
The Application also allows registering the email address for hurricane alerts. An in-app purchase of $1.99 removes all advertising from the program.
Hurricane and Hurricane HD, distributed by Kitty Code for $3.99 for the iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad respectively is probably the most sophisticated of the “Apps” for iOS listed in this article. It has by far the most exploitative user interface on the iPhone and iPad and makes very good use of the multi-touch capabilities of iOS.
Like HurricaneSoftware.com’s iHurricaneHD, Hurricane/Hurricane HD makes use of data from the National Hurricane Center, but presents it in a very easy to navigate and visually pleasing way and allows to seamlessly switch between satellite and map modes for storm tracking as well as moving radar and satellite imaging loops.
As with iHurricaneHD, this app allows to track current as well as past storms, going back as far as even 1851 using available data. The software also provides video updates for storms that are currently in progress.
Hurricane Tracker for iOS is something of an odd-man-out, as it isn’t really a native “App” per se, even though it is sold on the App Store for $1.99. It’s actually a very clever “mash up” of various web data from the NHC and other sources that allows it to be presented in sort of a browser-wrapper on an iOS device.
The Weather Channel: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, Android. Free (https://market.android.com/details?id=com.weather.Weather&hl=en)
The Weather Channel has fully customizable weather maps, animated radar maps, detailed weather conditions and forecasts, severe weather alerts, and a notification bar with the current temperature and severe weather alert indicator.
In addition to the popular location-based local video forecasts, the video section now includes the "Must See Six" videos each day from a national collection.
It allows\ to get weather forecasts for locations or search by city, ZIP code, street address or landmark. The app also includes interactive maps that are fully customizable and feature the functionality of Google Maps. Customers can decide to display layers such as radar, clouds, UV index, rainfall and more.
Global Alert Network: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android Blackberry. Free (http://www.globalalertnetwork.com/)
The Global Alert Network delivers hands-free national traffic and weather alerts. See iTunes for Apple devices, or go to BlackBerry for a download.
The Global Alert Network is a location-aware network platform that automatically broadcasts audible hands-free alerts to mobile devices. Choose to subscribe to weather or traffic alerts, which are geo-targeted to the location.
The application running on the phone keeps track of the phone’s location, not the Global Alert Network servers. When an alert is created, the alert zone is downloaded to the phone and the phone makes the determination if you are affected by the alert and whether the alert should be played.
Earthquake helps you track earthquakes as they happen using live United States Geological Survey (USGS) data and International agency data. You can search for quakes based on various filters including:
The app uses Google maps to show where the quakes took place. The maps integrate with the USGS web site. Using crowd sourcing, the app even lets you report when you feel the earth move under your feet.
It shows quakes on maps with color-coded pins that change in size based on the kind of quake. This gives you a visual cue about the various quakes taking place.
The Earthquake Survival Kit helps you in the event that you are facing an earthquake. It comes with an alarm which warns you if an earthquake takes place, something that could potentially save your life if it wakes you up just before your roof falls in on you.
Like the above app it also tells you where earthquakes happen around the world. If experience one, you can check out the safety tips and first aid information. In the event that you get caught in the debris of a fallen building the app emits both acoustic SOS and visual SOS signals for rescue teams. It will also send an SMS to rescue teams to help them find you with GPS info.
If you need help staying awake the app will set off alarms, which can be helpful in the event of a concussion. The app also has a lite version for free.
Pocket First Aid & CPR
What if you or someone you love gets hurt or stops breathing? Pocket First Aid & CPR helps you treat them, or helps someone else treat you. The app gets updates from the American Heart Association, so you know you are using current medical data to help people. It shows you how to do CPR on people from adult to children and infants. You can send your medical info to a friend via email so that they can share it with medical professionals if you get hurt.
The app shows you how to perform first aid procedures with charts, illustrations and videos. It also provides a checklist for your first aid kit. There is a lot of content to keep you informed.
Knowing what the emergency personnel in your community are up to might help if you are trapped or just wanting to keep track from a safe location.Emergency Radio (Police Scanner) keeps track of Police, Fire and Medical emergency radio frequencies and streams them to your phone. The app also monitors NOAA radio for hurricane info, air traffic, and Coast Guard.
Use the nearby button to find the radio traffic in your area. If your area is not included, you can host it if you have access to the radio traffic via scanner. This would be a wonderful service for any emergency service if someone on staff has an iPhone and the app.
If your local media provides a mobile app, get that first. Search for the call letters of local radio or TV stations to see if they have an app that streams their live feed or shows video clips of important events with live updated text feeds. If yours doesn’t, get a national news app like Fox News Radio Mobile, a free app that gives access to their radio feed.
The main “Current Storms” page includes a daily updated hurricane YouTube video and audio forecast that appears to be narrated by the application’s author, who is a talented storm expert. The daily YouTube video update in the page uses HTML5 video embedding, and it works fine on both Chrome and Froyo’s web browser.