Get updates from locals all over the globe with AlertMap for Android

by Caitlin M. Foyt

Between their earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis, all eyes are on Japan at the moment. And while news outlets from all over the world are there to report, honestly, who knows better about what's going on than the people who live there?

AlertMap for your Android phone is an app that allows those in the affected areas of Japan to post and have access to real-time data. It's a messaging app that allows users to easily share information, in a single place, with people from across the globe.

It's especially handy for Japanese people trying to relate information about unidentified people and property damage to other Japanese people.

The app uses GPS to lock down a user's exact location. And while the focus of this app is on Japan, users from anywhere can post, whether it be news links or heartfelt words of encouragement.

Each individual posting is marked on a map, but, because there are so many of them, it can be a bit overwhelming. That's why I'm grateful there's a feed (the icon in the left corner) that lists every posting on the map individually, starting with the latest updates.

What's especially neat about AlertMap is that users aren't restricted to just words when posting. Tap the post button in the right corner of the screen and you'll see you have the options to make audio recordings, shoot photos, and record videos.

This app is accessible to the average user, and certainly accomplishes what it set out to achieve. Because 70 percent of the posts coming out of Japan are in Japanese, the average American isn't going to be able to follow what's happening. The good news, though, is that there are some posts in English.

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