From time to time, we’ll feature mobile apps that we recommend for personal preparedness or emergency response (see the Tech category in our blog for other such recommendations). Today’s post comes to us from our partners in the U.S. Department of Energy, who have released a free mobile app to help citizens track energy issues in their areas following a disaster.
The Department of Energy launched a free mobile app called Lantern Live that helps consumers quickly find and share critical information about nearby gas stations and power outages during energy emergencies. The app builds on the Obama Administration’s commitment to improve national energy preparedness in the face of extreme weather and other events that can result in power disruptions. The app is currently available for Android devices through Google Play and will be available for iPhone in the near future.
Lantern Live allows users to report the operational status of local gas stations, find fuel, and look up power outage maps from local utilities, while also accessing useful tips and guidelines. With the launch of this app, the Energy Department is testing the power of crowdsourcing and open data in disaster and recovery.
Future releases of Lantern Live will likely include the ability to crowdsource information on the status of gas stations via standardized hashtags for social media. Lantern Live’s code will also be open source, allowing technology innovators and entrepreneurs to reuse the code in their own apps, explore new opportunities for other sectors and applications, and further leverage the power of open data.
Built in response to lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy, Lantern Live also builds on the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Disaster Response and Recovery Initiative, which is designed to accelerate the development of open data for power outages. This app also helps lay the groundwork for emerging best practices of mobile app development across the federal government.