Launching Disasters.Data.Gov to Empower First Responders and Survivors with Innovative Tools and Data

Strengthening our Nation’s resilience to disasters is a shared responsibility, with all community members contributing their unique skills and perspectives. Whether you’re a data steward who can unlock information and foster a culture of open data, an innovator who can help address disaster preparedness challenges, or a volunteer ready to join the “Innovation for Disasters” movement, we are excited for you to visit the new site, launching today.

First previewed at the White House Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Initiative Demo Day, is designed to be a public resource to foster collaboration and the continual improvement of disaster-related open data, free tools, and new ways to empower first responders, survivors, and government officials with the information needed in the wake of a disaster.

Today, the Administration is unveiling the first in a series of Innovator Challenges that highlight pressing needs from the disaster preparedness community. The inaugural Innovator Challenge focuses on a need identified from firsthand experience of local emergency management, responders, survivors, and Federal departments and agencies. The challenge asks innovators across the nation: “How might we leverage real-time sensors, open data, social media, and other tools to help reduce the number of fatalities from flooding?”


In addition to this first Innovator Challenge, here are some highlights from


  • Apps & Tools: The portal includes an initial set of apps and tools that can be deployed at minimal cost by first responders, emergency managers, volunteer organizations, survivors, and other stakeholders. The apps and tools featured were presented at the White House Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Demo Day and include sharing economy platforms, crowdsourcing options, and services to enable communications, contribute to a culture of preparedness, and alert the public.


  • Get Involved – Call to Data Stewards: Datasets relevant to disaster preparedness (including prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery) have traditionally been closed by default to the public. To help empower the community with information that can improve community resilience, the Administration is working with stakeholders to open a series of disaster-related datasets from all levels of government and the private sector. Learn more here.



The White House Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Initiative was launched by the Administration in response to Hurricane Sandy to find the most effective ways for technology to empower survivors, first responders, and all levels of government with critical information and resources. After over two years of continued dialogue and major commitments from the public and private sector, the first hardware hackathon for disaster preparedness held in support of the Initiative, and numerous workshops, we are thrilled to launch as the Initiative’s first major online presence. seeks to leverage the creativity and social entrepreneurship of innovators everywhere to help strengthen national preparedness. The Administration will continue working to shape the portal into a useful “go-to” resource that captures a diverse range of contributions in disaster preparedness technology and innovation. We invite you to take the site for a spin, email with your feedback, and get involved to help build a more resilient community.


Meredith Lee is AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Heather King is Director for Preparedness Policy at the National Security Council

Brian Forde is Senior Advisor for Mobile and Data Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

3 Responses to “Launching Disasters.Data.Gov to Empower First Responders and Survivors with Innovative Tools and Data”

  1. Paul Van Reed

    As a Records Manager for a Federal Agency and student of Emergency and Disaster Management (MA candidate E&DM) with a focus on the information governance and records management issues related to disaster events (particularly those with an environmental component), I am interested in seeing this effort take a broad and inclusive focus to include disaster response efforts as defined by CERCLA, the Clean Water Act and the Public Health Safety Act in addition to Stafford Act responses.

  2. Linda M.

    I would like to receive weekly summaries of the topics covered in your blog but do not see an option to register for it. I do not have the time to check the site, but do not want to miss out on the opportunities presented within the topics discussed.

  3. Jerry M.

    Yes, I am interested in being a first responder, to disasters, with our removal equipment…

    Would it be possible to receive more info concerning the proper channels to achieving this? Thanks!!

Comments are closed.