Elsewhere online
November 19, 2012

Relief Apps Help Marshal Resources in Sandy's Wake

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy and the widespread loss of normal communication channels, New York software developers and engineers are creating new mobile applications designed to help marshal resources and volunteers, according to The New York Times. Taking advantage of the continued availability of texting, services such as Sprout Help and HugoHelps directed would-be relief workers to the hardest-hit neighborhoods, broadcast messages identifying the most pressing needs, and helped victims find temporary accommodation.

Often created through "hackathons" in which developers pool resources to build new apps for a particular pressing need, such services are not necessarily intended to evolve into full-fledged products but can serve as blueprints for governments and relief charities in dealing with future disasters.