In anticipation of Hurricane Irma, Florida governor Rick Scott has announced that the state is working with Google’s emergency response team to mark closed roads on Google Maps in real time. This will help with evacuation plans.
Irma is currently a Category 5 hurricane barreling through the Caribbean, and it’s expected to impact Florida over the weekend and early next week. Yesterday, officials ordered mandatory evacuations in major parts of Florida, including Miami-Dade County and Fort Lauderdale.
Google Maps already uses Waze to indicate real-time traffic alerts in the area, but the partnership with the state of Florida will help Google learn about upcoming closures without relying on Waze users on the road to report back. This information is key for people who are evacuating ahead of the hurricane. The effort with Google will also help drivers navigate around closed roads in the aftermath of the storm.
Google elaborated in a statement, “Our thoughts are with those affected by Hurricane Irma. To provide access to accurate and useful transportation information, we use algorithmic and manual methods to account for everyday and emergency road closures. We’re working directly with Florida officials to help provide up-to-date information to those affected by the storm. These road closures will also appear on our Irma Crisis Map, embedded as part of our SOS Alert on Search.”
Update Sept. 7th, 2:10PM ET: This article was updated with a statement from Google.