Google Street View documenting Sandy’s aftermath: reports
Two electrical contractors from Staten Island pass a precariously perched house, damaged in Superstorm Sandy, while taking a break from their work on a bright day in the Belle Harbor section in the Queens borough of New York, Wednesday, Dec, 5, 2012. (AP / Kathy Willens)
Published Saturday, January 5, 2013 11:37AM EST
A move by Google to document Hurricane Sandy’s devastating aftermath with its Street View technology has stirred up controversy.
Some Staten Island residents told local media Friday that they were furious after the colourful car was spotted making its way through the devastated community, where the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy remains very apparent.
Others, however, say that mapping the storm’s aftermath could be used as a means to raise awareness of the magnitude of the damage that remains more than two months after Sandy struck the New York borough.
Google’s Street View car was first reported by the New York Post as it made its way past a number of homes that were totaled by the storm. Some local residents told the Post they worried that the photos of the damage could decrease property values in the area, while others said the move was insensitive.
A statement from New York City’s mayoral spokesperson indicated that city officials had collaborated with Google to document the devastation as a means to fundraise.
The spokesperson also told the Post that Google had committed to documenting the same neighborhoods once the recovery was underway.
It’s not the first time that the tech giant has documented the aftermath of natural disasters. Google used its mapping capabilities following Hurricane Katrina, flooding in Pakistan and an earthquake in Turkey, among other natural disasters.
The company’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, runs the Google Crisis Response project which aims to make critical information around natural disasters and humanitarian crises more accessible using updated satellite imagery and engineering tools, such as Google Person Finder.