Global Disaster Finder Now Online

Need your disaster fix for the day?

A new website from U.S. Geological Survey allows Internet users to find recent and current earthquakes, volcanoes, severe weather, fires and other disasters.

The online, interactive map, announced today, provides real-time icon-coded information that is comprehensive for the United States and provides limited data for other parts of the world.

A red dot reveals an earthquake. Flame indicates a fire. The traditional hurricane icon will show up sometime this summer.

A user can zero in on a certain continent and further enlarge the map to zero in on a specific state or city.

The interactive site is billed as a "one-stop, web-based portal to current natural hazard information" that "provides decision makers and the public with a tool to track numerous natural hazard events across the country and around the world."

For disaster junkies, the pure voyeuristic lure is clear.

While the site is somewhat comprehensive for most of North America, its global data is limited. It is expected to evolve, however.

"The wealth of dynamic natural hazards information and geospatial data that comprises the site continues to grow to provide users with more detail," said Jill Cress, a USGS scientist in charge of the website.

Among the information fed into the website:

  • Global earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 3.0.
  • Weather watches and warnings for North America.
  • Hurricane tracking points and potential impact zones for the Western Hemisphere.
  • Wildfires in the United States.

The site is at http://nhss.cr.usgs.gov. Click on "Launch Viewer" on the left side of the page.