Hurricane Sandy hit the US East Coast earlier this week, knocking out power to more than 8 million subscribers. The damage to the infrastructure was so severe that it's expected to take more than a week to bring service back.
Here are a few of the better projects online to track the progress of service restoration.
The New York Times is tracking power outages and restoration for the Con Edison service. They're pulling county by county data from the utility company web site and tracking and visualizing it over time. More detailed reporting also covers surrounding states, including hard-hit New Jersey and Long Island. Sample graphic:
iFactor’s Storm Center
The "Storm Center" application from iFactor powers the web sites for a number of the larger utilities affected by Hurricane Sandy. In Storm Center put to the test during Sandy, they discuss how the systems held up in the storm. Some 3,500,000 visits were logged to the mapping pages, and of those 20-50% were from mobile devices.
NYC Power Status
Does NYC have power? A simple page shows current restoration status by borough. "Con Edison is working on it." See nycpowerstatus.com.
Google Crisis Map
The Google Crisis Map for Superstorm Sandy has an overlay showing utility company outage sites, shown here in orange.
The trouble with utility outage tracking
The hardest part about tracking utility outages across a broad area is that there's wide variety in how each utility reports outages. It would be useful to a lot of organizations to have a single map covering the whole storm area, but instead we have little pieces of a big picture.