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November 14, 2008

Early, early this morning (or late, late last night depending on the nearest coast), a website I’ve been waiting for for some time finally went live. is the brainchild of Nate Ritter, a social media programmer and evangelist who I first learned about during the San Diego County wildfires last fall. Using Twitter and Google Maps, Nate was a one man font of information, aggregating everything on the web tagged with a “hash tag” (his invention, btw) related to the fires.

With, he’s automated the process. The site continuously searches the Internet for any and all hash tags it’s been programmed to look for and auto-populates a page with a dynamic map, news stories, blog posts, YouTube clips, and pictures from Flickr. Each crisis gets it’s own page and grow independently.

The system got its first test within a few hours of going live when the Tea wildfire ripped through Santa Barbara County. Originally intended to go live for The Great Shakeout exercise, Nate had to create a new page dedicated the fire and hope the site worked as it was supposed to.

How many times has real life imposed during exercises to you? Welcome to disaster management, Nate.

If you get a chance today, stop by and stress his servers some more. Good luck, Nate!

Image credit:

UPDATE: See comments for clarification on some things that I got wrong from the man, the mystery, Mr. Nate Ritter.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2008 5:42 pm


    Thanks for the awesome writeup on Our team appreciates it a ton. I was happy to meet up with some folks at to get this thing jumpstarted. We put together a team called Project Jigsaw, which catapulted us into developing this whole thing. It’s been a long time coming and I’m glad it’s alive now, but I honestly hope that we rarely have to use it.

    Thanks again.

    Oh, and one correction. I didn’t invent hashtags… that was Chris Messina ( I just popularized them in 2007. But thanks anyway. 🙂


  2. November 14, 2008 11:06 pm


    I really appreciate you stopping by. I really love the stuff you’ve been coming out with, not only CrisisWire, but Tiny Geo Coder, too.

    Props to the team for me, and hope to see you around the tubes.


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