Making a Difference with Social Software

Came across Scipionus.com via Wired today. Scipionus ScreenshotThe creators of this site have created a “visual wiki” that people can use to record conditions in areas struck by Katrina. They’re using the Google Maps API to allows tagging of locations. The tags are at the same time fascinating and heartbreaking.

One of the tags led me to The Interdictor, a self-described “Survival of New Orleans blog.” And from there I came across this Web cam which appears to be near the Hotel InterContinental where I stayed last January for the annual NLII conference.

This whole last week has been surreal watching this disaster unfold. One aspect of that surrealness has been following how people are “connecting” with each other and gathering information through the use of Web sites and social software. A disaster like this which disperses so many thousands of people in so many different directions reminds me of just how big the world can seem. Seeing how technology can help to make it feel a little smaller and more manageable is somehow heartening.