Updates in Maps and Search to help during times of crisis

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SOS alerts help you quickly access authoritative, real-time information during times of crisis. Today, we’re improving SOS alerts by adding visual information about natural disasters and a new navigation warning system on Google Maps so you can more reliably know where a disaster is and anticipate where it’s headed. Read on to learn about what’s changing, along with three ways to help you stay connected and informed during times of emergency.

Hurricane forecast cones, earthquake shakemaps and flood forecasts

With SOS alerts, you can already see important crisis information—a summary of what’s happening, relevant news stories, emergency phone numbers and websites, Twitter updates from local authorities, and tips to help you find your way to safety. Now, you’ll also be able to see detailed visualizations about hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods to give you a better understanding of the situation on the ground.

In the days leading up to a hurricane, you’ll see a crisis notification card on Google Maps that automatically appears if you’re near the impacted area. This card will direct you to a hurricane forecast cone, which shows the prediction of the storm’s trajectory along with information about what time it’s likely to hit certain areas, so you can use this information to plan how to react.

After an earthquake strikes, tapping on the crisis card will display the earthquake’s shakemap—a visualization that shows you its epicenter, its magnitude, along with color coding to indicate how intense the shaking was in surrounding areas. This information can help you quickly assess the reach of the earthquake and and identify areas likely to have experienced the highest impact.  And in India, where over 20 percent of global flood-related fatalities occur, you’ll now be able to see flood forecasts that show you where flooding is likely to occur in addition to the expected severity in different areas.

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