Tech in the time of tragedy: Google says Kerala flood victims can share location even when offline

Google said people stranded in Kerala could use a plus code, which work just like street addresses, to share their location with rescue personnel.

india Updated: Aug 18, 2018 19:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Google plus code,Google location,Google maps
People wait for aid on the roof of their house at a flooded area in Kerala, August 17, 2018. (Reuters)

The people of flood-hit Kerala, waiting for relief or for a rescue team, can share their location even when they are offline, Google said on Saturday.

Flood victims can use their Android smartphones or tablets to generate and share the plus code of their exact location, which can pinpoint their whereabouts and make it easier for rescue workers to reach them, Google said.

Users can share their plus codes over a voice call or an SMS.

Plus codes work just like street addresses. When an address is not available, one can use a plus code to find or share a place on Google Maps.

A plus code includes 6 or 7 letters and numbers, and a town or city.

This is how to do it:

• To find the plus code for a place on an Android phone or tablet, users need to open the Google Maps app and touch and hold a place to drop a pin on Google Maps.

• They then need to tap the address or description at the bottom, and scroll down to find the plus code.

• To search for a place using a plus code, all the rescuers or family members of the flood victims need to do is type the plus code at the search box of the Google Maps app.

Overflowing rivers and a series of landslides in the state have caused the death of more than 200 people in the past 10 days, with over three lakh people forced to move to some 2,000 relief camps.

Nearly, 7,000 persons have been rescued since August 9 and some 900 given medical assistance.

Twitter earlier this month said that in flood situations when communication services are limited and Internet connectivity is poor, using the data-friendly “Twitter Lite” can help people connect easily with government agencies, relief organisations, media and volunteers.

One can use hashtags such as #KeralaFloods, #KeralaFloods2018 on Twitter to find information regarding relief operations, such as locations of relief centres.

Facebook is updating information about the flood situation in Kerala in its Crisis Response Page. The social networking giant last week activated the “Safety Check” tool that allows users to indicate whether they are safe or not.

First Published: Aug 18, 2018 14:50 IST