Last week, the Google Street View car was seen in a badly hit Staten Island neighborhood taking photos of
the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in order to update their maps. This angered many New York residents; some who felt that their privacy was being infringed and others who worried about the effect this may have on property values. Others were deeply saddened that images of their damaged homes will soon be available on the internet for all to see.
A Google spokesperson responded to the criticism saying, “We hope this accurate, updated imagery that will soon be available in Google Maps will help people around the world better understand the extent of the damage and the importance of coming together as a community to aid in the recovery efforts.”
Other members of the Staten Island neighborhood agreed with Google’s decision to update the map with images of the destruction and devastation. Many believe that these images will garner support and speed up the recovery and rebuild process.
According to Julie Wood, the Mayor of New York City’s Deputy Press Secretary, “Google is committed to documenting these same neighborhoods again soon to show the recovery we are confident will be made.”
After Hurricane Katrina, Google was criticized for the amount of time that passed before the maps documented the aftermath in New Orleans.
What do you think? Do up-to-the-minute maps help ongoing recovery efforts? Or do they infringe upon homeowner privacy during difficult times? Share your opinion in the comments section.