Database of the Day: Live tracking of disasters, incidents and threats

This is the sort of topic that those of us in a fairly offbeat line of work, with a twisted sense of the world -which pretty universally applies to private investigators- can appreciate and put to practical use. Let’s start with terrorism, shall we?

The Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT), “a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing terrorism on U.S. soil or mitigating its effects”, maps real-time global terrorist threats and events. MIPT also has resources on terrorism-related court cases and terrorist groups and leaders. See all types of worldwide calamities, suspicious activities and threats on the Global Incident Map.

Global health outbreaks, derived from multiple sources, are tracked on HEALTHMap, a project of John Brownstein, Instructor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Clark Freifeld, Research Software Developer at the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program. View by disease type, country and recent incidents.

Incident1 is a start-up emergency incidents and crime mapping site. Drawn from law enforcement and highway patrol sources, it aims to be national but is currently limited to a few regions. Search by zip code or the drop-down menu of regions to see recent crime and accidents. IncidentLog covers many local crime, traffic and fire events that aren’t at Incident1. Plot events by type and/or region, state, city or street. IncidentLog also has a running list of the events by selected criteria and provides a link to the source Web site.

A collection of federal agencies collaborated on the live mapping of wildfires, which lists date the fire started and the number of acres involved, as well as a link to the source agency. View fire locations back to 2002. The USDA Forest Service active fires map shows the location of large fires in the US and Canada but seems to have data that is a subset of the wildfires map. Other maps of active fires are found at

The new Google My Maps feature enables anyone to easily configure a map with selective features. Google Maps Mania discovered this Google My Maps creation of wildfires in Waycross, Georgia.

Locate recent earthquakes, active volcanoes and tropical storms on the Asia Pacific Natural Hazards and Vulnerabilities Atlas.

Volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, floods, power outages, epidemics and other unpleasant occurrences are noted on this global map provided by the National Association of Radio-Distress Signalling and Infocommunications, Emergency and Disaster Information Services (EDIS), Budapest Hungary. Scroll beyond the map image for a list of events by date and time.

The National Hurricane Center has lots of live maps of weather patterns.

The International Chamber of Commerce, Commercial Crime Services has a news service of piracy alerts and maps global piracy events. Additional maritime incident data can be gathered from the International Maritime Organization, which provides detailed incident descriptions with free registration.

Even a map of wars and violent conflicts doesn’t cover all disaster events but I wanted to leave room for you to add your own resources!


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