ups and downs
Mood: happy
Posted on 2005-08-31 15:10:00
Tags: scipionusdotcom
Words: 178

I took some time last night when I should have been sleeping to help destroyerj put up, which is a place for people to provide and get information about conditions after Hurricane Katrina.

I heard this morning on the way to work that over 800 Iraqis were killed in a stampede during a religious procession after a rumor spread (no word on whether this was true or not) that there was a suicide bomber in the crowd. According to NPR, the procession involved taking food and candy from passers-by (I think this had some religious significance), and 100 people died of poisoning which was presumably deliberate. This is really horrible.

Lots of people are using I know it isn't much, but I feel like I helped out a little bit.

(Edit: Wow! I didn't realize this entry was going to become such a big deal. Credit where credit's due: the map was destroyerj's idea (he also goes by Scipionus, which is where the name came from), and he helped out with the implementation.)


Comment from anonymous:

Anyway that you can get an updated satellite image??? I can see exactly where my apartment is, but there isn't any information around it. An recent image would show us where the water is, no???

Comment from gregstoll:

Here are a few satellite images. Unfortunately, I don't know how to make that integrate with Google Maps, but perhaps these will be helpful?

Comment from anonymous:

Helps a bit, thanks. Hopefully they'll update it again from today. Nothing that zooms in though, huh?

Comment from gregstoll:

Nope - the hi-res photos are the best I've seen.

(do I know you?)

Comment from anonymous:

no. but thanks so much for your awesome work. the best information that is available right now!!!

Comment from gregstoll:

Glad it's helpful!

Comment from anonymous:

Thanks tons for the info map for hurricane refugees.

I can't see a slide or zoom feature on Can you tell me how to zoom in?

- glen

Comment from gregstoll:

On, there should be a slider on the left side of the map that you can click on to set the zoom level. There's also a "+" button above the slider that you can click to zoom in, and a "-" button below it to zoom out.

If you don't see those, it's possible your browser isn't supported - here is a list of supported browsers.

Comment from wildrice13:

I bet people really appreciate that map, even if they're not all finding this and expressing it. Hooray for compy skillz! You rock!

Comment from anonymous:


Thank You very much! We at least got some idea if my sister's home and business are above or below water - and thanks to the contributors, too.

C.L.Phillips with sister from NOLA in refuge in Natchez, MS

Comment from anonymous:

Just used your site from CT to help my family who evacuated from (3) different homes in New Orleans. First good information they have been provided is from your site. You have helped tremendously.

Comment from anonymous:

my family has 3 different homes in the heavy strike zone of the hurricane. you've helped us and many of my friends determine that their homes were not under water. my family at the house here in Baton Rouge send their adoration and thanks!

Comment from anonymous:

Thanks Greg, for adding this valuable site..

Comment from anonymous:

Greg, thank you SO much for your map. I've been all over the internet, trying to find out if my brother's house is flooded. According to your map, his neighborhood is dry, and I was able to reach him tonight and tell him. He is thrilled and very relieved. I was also able to call our mother and put her mind at ease. She worries SO much. You've done areally good thing, Greg. You should be proud of yourself (and your mother should be proud of you too).

Comment from ctroisi:

His mom IS proud of him :)

Comment from gregstoll:

Aw, thanks!

Comment from anonymous:

I assume you're Greg's mom. Congratulations to you too. I hope someday one of my boys will do something useful and important like this.

From a fellow MOG (Mother of Geeks)

Comment from anonymous:

Those of us with family and friends in New Orleans SO APPRECIATE your google map!!!! Technology can be such a blessing in the right hands such as yours and the destroyerj.

Comment from anonymous:

Thanks so much for your map! I'm non tech so here is my contribution:

(2nd, 3rd & 4th verse by ASP 2005)

Lord, listen to Your children praying,
Lord, send Your spirit in this place;
Lord, listen to Your children praying,
Send us love, send us pow'r, send us grace!

Lord, listen to Your children praying,
Lord, let the fury of this hurricane decrease;
Lord, listen to Your children praying,
Send us hope, send us mercy, send us peace!

Lord, listen to Your children praying,
Lord, save the levees; make the waters recede;
Lord, listen to Your children praying,
Send us help, send us courage, heed our need!

Lord, listen to Your children praying,
Lord, from evil and suff'ring give relief;
Lord, listen to Your children praising,
Lord, we give thanks through our actions and belief!


Comment from anonymous:


Comment from anonymous:

I really appreciate this map and it has provided me with some great information -- some sad news too. But it's fascinating to see this "grass roots" and "on the ground" utility in action. I thnak you for your fine work, creativity and concern for your fellow man!

John L. Kolp
New York City

Comment from anonymous:

Hi, Greg,

I don't know if you remember me, but I graduated from Rice University (Jones College) in 2003. I was on Rice Broadcast TV and majored in Economics. Well, right now, I'm a news reporter at KLTV-TV ABC 7 in Tyler, TX. Of course, I've been covering hurricane evacuees coming to East Texas. Every day this week, I've been filing reports from a Tyler shelter. Today, my story was about how the evacuees were using the free computers and Internet access for email and to look up information about their hometowns. It so happens that a bunch of people were on your Katrina Information Site. I am so impressed and proud that a fellow Owl is doing something great like this. Just wanted to pass this along to you. My email address is Website: Take care and hope to hear from you!

Julie Tam

Comment from destroyerj:

Hey Julie,
Thanks for the nice words about the site and Go Owls! I remember you from RBT (I was Greg's roommate at Will Rice).
How are things with the evacuees there in Tyler? I hope people are finding some level of comfort in the helping hands from Texas as they arrive :(.

Comment from anonymous:


We had several thousand evacuees in Tyler alone, and probably that many more in the entire East Texas area. Most of them are no longer in shelters; they've found either housing or people to stay with. There are only a few dozen left in shelters from Katrina. But now, Rita has brought in even more evacuees. Tyler had a very organized effort to take in the evacuees, so it's been going relatively well. And from the times I went into the shelters, they were well taken care of. Now, I'm actually getting ready to move out of Tyler to a much bigger city. My last day at the station was Thursday. I've gotten a new job as a news reporter at WDRB-TV FOX 41 in Louisville, KY. By the way, is this Jonathan Ichikawa or another Jonathan?


Comment from destroyerj:

Wow, that's great that Tyler's doing such a great job for all the evacuees who need help.
This is a different Jonathan, Jonathan Mendez; I'm not sure we ever met in person at Rice.
Congrats on your new job in KY. I hope things go well for you there.

Comment from anonymous:

Hey. I live in Baton Rouge, LA. I've got so many friends and people I know of from NO. I sent the map link to all of them. Some posted information and others found out what happened in their specific area.
We all really appreciate this. Funny thing is, my dad in Honduras found this link and sent it along to me. I'm glad someone came up with the idea and you were able to have it work.

Mary Catherine

Comment from anonymous:

Looking at, I'm impressed by the work y'all put into that in such a short timeframe.

I think it would be cool if you could add a 'tagging' feature like in flickr or with This way people could group their information into buckets like 'water levels', 'relief point', 'American Red Cross Center' and the like...

If you need help in trying to feature it out, I'm game for trying!



Comment from gregstoll:

Great idea! It's something we've considered, and I might add it (I've already done a similar thing with my map, so the code is there...) - the only problem is tagging the 1100+ entries that already exist.


Comment from anonymous:

just fyi. logged in from an illinois public library puter. is rated as a porn site. have dropped a note to the admins of "the illinois century network" but have not a hope...

i read the wired article, just a "thank you" for good work with the wiki for katrina.

with best regards

an anonymous coward

Comment from anonymous:

that's Scipionus. my bad. but sentian still pukes it out.

same anon. coward
may not spel, but i'm still right

Comment from anonymous:

The government have up to date extremely hi-res images of the whole of New Orleans after the hurricane.

Why have they not been given to google for a special
(like the special

Comment from anonymous:

It is up on google now....,0.324200&t=e&hl=en

Comment from gregstoll:

And the new "Katrina" button on shows those satellite pictures - unfortunately they don't cover all of the affected area, but it's a good start!

Comment from ma1974:

I am happy to see that most markers I click has inforation that people are safe. My heart is with you over there.

Comment from anonymous:

Hi, This is a great idea, but have you considered creating a similar map for people who still need rescue, medical help or are missing in New Orleans? The quote below is from a post on LiveJournal of a plea for help. Please help them by creating a similar tool that perhaps will give Rescue workers a better idea of where people are located. Thanks. Gina

As demonstrated on's blog section, many individuals
know the exact locations and WORKING telephone numbers of family
members, most of whom are elderly, sickly, starving, and in serious
need of medical attention. When able to get through on emergency
telephone numbers, a feat not to be taken lightly, they are dismissed
or told that dispatch would be sent immediately, yet no one has come,
even though calls have been placed for days. Many do not require full
evacuation, but basic medical attention and/or supplies. Many are
completely immobile, and unable to access the limited relief sites or
food drops. For more information on these people who are stranded and requiring immediate assistance, please visit
Note: specific contact information and locations ARE provided

Comment from anonymous:

Thanks for the map to see our family's area. FYI: We have logged on several times and it was slow at 9pm or so tonight and now it says it has no information for that site. (Sad, State of WA user)

Comment from anonymous:

Hi, I'm an American in Slovakia. Your map is fantastic. I'm interested in two, specific issues: helping reduce HIV/AIDS in Eldoret, Kenya; and helping Roma (Gypsies) build their own houses (with ETP Slovakia and Hungary's Habitat for Humanity).

I can imagine some modified application of this mapping tech in both poor areas of Slovakia, and in Kenya.

I'll try to contact by email in the future -- keep up the good work.
- Tom Grey

Comment from anonymous:


Could not access the map. Do you have any information on 2820 Burdette Street? That is Chateau de Notre Dame where Mary-Kate and I were living.

Great to see your ace and know your are working on this.

Tom Tews

Comment from anonymous:

I checked for you. Unfortunately, most of the flags in that area are from people asking for info. the only flag anywhere in the neighborhood with info was at the corner of Pritchard and Dublin and it said initially 4 ft. of water, now maybe 2 feet. Unfortunately, I cannot get a satellite map of that section to load. Hope this helps.

Comment from snack_master:

I don't mean to be so sentimental, but I'm working on my thesis at rice university's school of architecture and a friend pointed me to the site which i found immensely useful for my work. I noticed that you went to rice also so maybe my project will make sense to you. In a sentence, I'm trying to enable the residents of my ever-changing neighborhood in houston to write their own urban history as they go, as an alternative to the more rigid place identities that already exist for the city (montrose, museum district, the heights....etc.). It seems only appropriate that a city built on the sum of many many uncoordinated individual decisions have a model for explaining it's history that is not based on a grand overarching narrative, but something more adaptable to all of the fast changes that occur here everyday.

anyhow, i suppose google maps is an open source thing but I'd love to get your advice on how a non-hacker like myself might incorporate google maps into the website for my project.

thanks for any help you can give-
eric leshinsky

Comment from sumwhereibel0ng:

Awesome site! I just read about the site (and your blog username) from I have always wanted to have something like this, with even more detail. I see soooooooo many databases online about individuals and their status, etc. It would be nice if there was one main site that everyone could go to to find out this information.

However, the more I think about this, the more I wonder about privacy. I'm not familiar with privacy laws or anything. But say I was "hiding" out somewhere, from a "stalker" or something. (This might be extreme/rare, but I'm sure it could happen). Say I end up in a disaster area, and someone writes about me on this public information site about my status, maybe where I was from, and most likely where I am now staying. My stalker happens to be computer savvy, and searches this site for my name. Walla, they now know where to find me.

I guess I really don't know what I'm asking or trying to say, but it would be fun to do something like that, but then I try and think about how it might actually not be a good idea, and I think of things like that.

Comment from gregstoll:


This is true, but this is a problem on any public forum of information. And it's less so in this case, since there's no way to search the content of the markers - someone would have to click on all 1500+ markers to find any information there.

So it is a concern, and something to think about, but perhaps it's up to the person who is "hiding" to let others know that his or her address, etc. should not be public information.

This backup was done by LJBackup.