In order to search and track status of rescue teams in the flood-hit state of Jammu and Kashmir, a Google application called ‘Person Finder’ is being pressed into service by the government. Once updated and activated, search and rescue teams can use the ‘Person Finder’ to locate the people living in an area and deploy men and material to evacuate them from marooned locations.
TOI reports that ”The platform had been very successful during last year’s floods and heavy rains that had wreaked havoc in Uttarakhand. Once activated, the web and SMS-based resource will bolster rescue teams of all the agencies like NDRF and IAF immensely,” a senior officer of the security establishment said.
Google Person Finder is a web application that allows individuals to post and search for the status of their relatives or friends affected by a disaster. All data entered in it is available to the public and is accessible to everyone.
Apart from the common people, the tool will also allow press agencies, non-governmental agencies and others to contribute in the database and receive updates by using the Person Finder API based on the PFIF open standard.
It also allows to subscribe to status updates of a particular person. One can subscribe to status updates by clicking the “Subscribe to updates about this person” button on any record. Whenever the status of the person is updated on the record in Google Person Finder, Google will send email to the subscribers informing about the new status.
It was build in response to the January 2010 Haiti earthquake in order to help those affected by the calamity and to connect them with their loved ones. It is an open source software i.e. any developer can create their own instance of Google Person Finder after a disaster. Person Finder runs on the Google App Engine platform, and it has been launched in over 40 languages all over the world.