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White House Launches Open Data Disaster Portal

More than 100 data sets can be found at along with tools, contests and resources to help first responders and technologists engage with a larger community.

The White House launched a new open data portal on Dec. 15, targeting the needs of first responders and emergency survivors. The website, found at, features disaster-related data sets, tools and resources for those who want to join a larger community of data-minded first responders.

The website features data (more than 100 sets) that can be sorted by type of disaster — earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, severe winter weather, tornadoes and wildfires — as well as tools and apps, and information about how to get involved or join challenges like the current Innovator Challenge, which calls for ideas on how to reduce flooding fatalities.

The Innovator Challenge listed as of the date of this report is the first in a series that are intended to highlight the needs of the disaster preparedness community.

The website was born from the White House Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Initiative, a project launched in response to Hurricane Sandy that aims to turn technology into empowering tools that can save lives. The initiative has manifested in the form of a hardware hackathon for disaster preparedness and partnerships with both the private and public sectors, but this portal represents the first unified online resource for such efforts.