Friday, September 26, 2008

Tracking Hurricanes Live Online

This has been quite a season for hurricanes. I’m not going to get into the whole global warming debate here, but talk about how technology is literally saving lives when these storms happen.

Galveston appears to have been the hardest hit by Hurricane Ike. In 1900, Galveston had a devastating hurricane that claimed at least 8,000 lives. Back then there weren’t weather satellites, the Internet, computers or PDA’s. By the time people realized what was about to happen, it was too late.

Flash forward a century and it’s a completely different world. Not only were scientists able to track Ike for weeks, but we were too.

I found myself going to a variety of web sites to watch the hurricane develop, and track its projected path. I could access fresh images moment by moment.

I am sure that this proved to be a wonderful tool for the people in the path of Hurricane Ike. Those with computers or PDA’s had plenty of warning time, and plenty of time to evacuate to safety. Imagine how helpful it was for people with PDAs traveling in their cars to get the latest information on evacuation routes and other necessary things.

Yes, there was loss of life, and the damage is simply horrendous. But thousands were saved because they had direct access to warnings, evacuation information and where to go when it came time to try and return home.

Another example of what computer technology is designed to do. Empower, and in this case, save lives.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO and founder of Video Professor, Inc.
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