Thursday, April 21, 2016

TBT: Redefining emergency communications

Time for a throwback Thursday post! Earlier this year, the State of Colorado was written up for its work redefining emergency communications during and after the September 2013 floods, and we wanted to highlight it.

This IT work started off with an injection of collaboration for the state’s many agencies, with the development of a Google crisis map that compiled previously siloed information into Colorado’s “single source of truth” for disaster efforts.

Additionally, Governor John Hickenlooper wanted one hub for all of Colorado’s recovery-related information:
With time against them, Williams worked with Colorado incubator Galvanize and Simply Local, a design firm, to create the official State of Colorado website for resiliency and recovery information and resources. The site, appropriately named Colorado United, is still operational today managing the ongoing projects and new work for local/state resiliency efforts.
Remarkably, Colorado United was built in just 48 hours (for free) using Google Sites. “We knocked out a full public-facing website, got it coordinated with nine different response agencies, and established a mobile-friendly site that consolidate all the information,” says [Brandon] Williams [our OIT director of Google operations]. “It’s not the flashiest, but it does the trick. It modifies for mobile. It’s easy for people to update who are not super technical." 
The innovation from the state didn’t stop there. After the flooding, the State of Colorado took the opportunity to rethink process and problem solving, and encourage technology-driven solutions to better serve Coloradans.
It’s a great article, with really neat interactive pieces -- read it in it’s entirety here.