During Hurricane Sandy, government officials used a new alert system, which contacted anyone within an affected geographic area whose mobile device could get text messages, according to the New York Times. This was the first time the system was used in New York and now tech firms and the city are looking for other technology-related relief efforts. “It’s becoming very evident that just below filling basic needs of food, water and shelter is this connectivity issue, and connectivity can help fulfill other needs,” said Jessica Lawrence, the managing director of the New York Tech Meetup.
The New York Tech Meetup signed up over 800 potential volunteers to help build tools on the fly. One of the most useful has been the Sandy Coworking Crowdmap, which provided businesses displaced by the storm to find places to set up shop for free. Another relief project is Neepmapper, which allows people to text requests for volunteers or donations. The site then plots those requests on a map.