Weather and Snow Plow Needs, Mapped by the Public


While the entire State of New Jersey was preparing for yet another snowstorm expected to hit on Wednesday night, two men were putting together an innovative solution for efficiently gathering storm-related data from the public.


Justin Auciello (Jersey Shore Hurricane News) and Dr. Wansoo Im (Vertices) have created crowdsourced maps where anyone can post snow plowing status and weather condition of their neighborhood on ‘MapplerK’ smartphone app. In a matter of minutes, people’s reports including pictures started popping up all over the map of New Jersey in realtime. It is quickly becoming possible to spot which parts of towns were hit the hardest, and which are in need of plowing.

“The Plow Map is all about public accountability,” said Justin Auciello, the founder of Jersey Shore Hurricane News (JSHN). “Of course, the users are encouraged to wait a reasonable amount of time before reporting plowing needs, but this is a new way to keep the officials on their toes and get the job done.”

On Thursday, a new map (JSHN Power Outage Map) was launched for the purpose of collecting power outage data, as many parts of the nation have been had their lights out since the beginning of current snowstorm. 

“Community Participatory Mapping is a great method of how people can share location based information and communicate effectively,” said Dr. Im, a community participatory mapping expert who had also created Hurricane Sandy Gas Station Map in 2012, which allowed storm-struck locals to track gas availability on their smartphones. He had also created NYRestroom map in 2006.

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Jin Lee, Intern,