Ida weakened to a tropical storm by Monday morning, but live video and recent updates from the National Hurricane Center remained available on several local media sites, thanks to a partnership with America's Emergency Network, which connects disaster coordinators, local governments, the media and the NHC with one another.
NOAA image of Ida, Nov. 9, 2009 America’s Emergency Network is led by former CBS hurricane analyst Bryan Norcross and uses VBrick encoding and streaming devices, enabling live video in both broadcast resolution (640x420 at 30 fps; 1.3 Mbps) and Web resolution (320x240 at 15 fps; 250 kbps).
AEN routes the content by Internet to a hub in Las Vegas. From there, it’s distributed using a Web acceleration service (such as Akamai), and it becomes available to media outlets for broadcast or the Web (where it can be included with just a widget using code AEN supplies).
Among the applications: Public officials in one place can get unedited information from disaster zones or officials’ media briefings elsewhere without having to rely on the media carrying the needed content. And viewers worldwide can catch live feeds on media sites without crashing the NHC servers.
For those who go to the Website of the NHC, based in Miami, there’s a handy map showing what local media are carrying NHC news. Viewers can click and get the live feed PLUS local news for that area.
So overall, for an innovative partnership with a private operator to harness the power of the commercial media to get important emergency information to the public, the NHC Website is the Government Video Website of the Week
There's plenty more at the NHC site, including a whole lot of satellite images and data you WON'T see on the local news.
The NHC and the Florida Division of Emergency Management were two early participants in the AEN system. On the receive end, an early adopter was the Miami Herald, which has agreed to carry every feed that the AEN system produced in Florida.
Here are three local sites carrying the AEN feeds (plus updates archived for four hours):
And check out last week's Website of the Week, where New York City goes undercover at some gun shows.
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America's Emergency Network www.emergency.info
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