In 2017, we faced Hurricane Irma here in South Florida. Many local news outlets and forms of government sent messages to the community warning them of areas to evacuate. Most maps that were given were static images or drawings of the areas that were supposed to evacuate. This made it hard to determine through digital means what zip code and actual places were supposed to evacuate as well as areas to evacuate too.
The picture above highlights how maps were given to different folks in the South Florida area. The problem is, how would anyone be able to know which area this was? They would have to depend on different sources of information. In a case I ran with my siblings 8-years-old and 14-years-old respectively I asked them to search if where they lived was suppose to evacuate. They didn’t know. How could you build something that was easy enough for kids to use? That is what I asked myself.
I used Geospatial Information Systems Mapping and Open Data to create a visualization that made it easy to see which areas people were supposed to evacuate. I also pulled data from shelters, places to park your car, and pet-friendly shelters then added it to the map to help others locate the best place to head too if needed. This map was put up several days before the Hurricane and through it. It was published through Twitter, Facebook, and sent to others via text to help those who need it. Now if a user goes to this map and types in their zip code the ycan easily find out if they need to evacuate and what areas are near them.