Sept. 24—As the efforts to stabilize Puerto Rico progress, and the humanitarian crisis becomes more evident, Google has activated a Person Finder service.
The service, available at https://google.org/personfinder/2017-maria, allows users to reconnect with loved ones in the aftermath of a natural disaster.
Person Finder is available in most languages, including Spanish and English. Spanish is set as the default language for Person Finder. This can be changed if needed by selecting the preferred language from a drop-down menu on the right side of the screen.
The application may also search for people who may be affected by other natural disasters worldwide. To change the location, select the three lined ‘home button’ next to the headline Google Person Finder. A list of natural disasters will become available.
When using the service, users can choose from two options: ‘I’m looking for someone’ (in a blue box) or ‘I have information about someone’ (in a green box).
To access the crisis map, users can log on to https://goo.gl/Yv4TmY, where they will be able to see live updates on weather, traffic, and public alerts. Shelters are also marked by orange house icons on the map. Clicking a shelter icon will provide essential information such as its address, phone number, and coordinates. This information is also available for Vieques, PR., the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the British Virgin Islands.
As of Saturday, the map was showing a flood warning for residents on the Western side of the island, due to the failure of the dam near Quebradillas and Isabela.
As of 7:00 p.m. Saturday, Google was tracking about 7,500 records in Puerto Rico.
Concerned citizens and first responders can add Google Person Finder to their own website by embedding the service using simple html code generated by Google. Responders are also encouraged to download data from Person Finder to synchronize with their own databases. The data is available in People Finder Interchange format (PFIF). More detailed instructions are available online.
Google noted that it cannot review or verify the accuracy of data added by other users.