Many of us know our way around our area if we are driving, but what if that’s not an option? If there is one thing everyone should do, it should be to do disaster readiness planning with Google Maps. This can provide you with a birds eye view and terrain view of the areas you are likely to be.
Disaster Readiness Planning using Google Maps
Enter your address in to Google Maps and zoom in. Then use “satellite view” to review the area around your home. Look for streams, rivers, ponds and lakes so you know where to find water. Look for places you can hide, build a camp, bug out to, or travel through to points of safety.
Change the view over to “terrain”. This will give you another view of your area, showing the topography and terrain. Looks at the hills, valleys and mountains. Make mental notes and print out maps showing these key features.
You will want to focus on things like low points in the land, where flooding could occur, making them impassible, or deadly if you are hunkered down there. Keep in mind regional tidbits like that so they don’t come back to bite you later.
Use the directions feature to find driving routes to bug out locations or relatives home. Use the “avoid highways” option to find alternatives to the highways. Drag the “path” to alternate roads in the directions so you can view different routes.
Look for routes or landmarks that you could follow on foot, if you wanted to avoid detection or roadblocks.
Finally switch over to Google’s USGS Topographical Maps to see the topography of your area to plan any egress or ingress routes you may need.
Now repeat the same disaster readiness planning review for the location where you work or other locations where you spend a lot of time.
If you are a long-distance commuter, review this information for your entire route! Commuters should also check out the following posts to give them ideas to maximize their survival.
Doing some simple Disaster Readiness Planning will give you a good idea of what is around you and which direction to head for water or shelter. This can save your life someday. I always recommend having a Gazeteer (aka Delorme Atlas) or topographical maps of your area and a good compass, but if you don’t then use Google Maps now, while you can.