How to: keep track of Japan earthquake online

March 11th, 2011 | by Raymond Lau

A series of massive earthquakes hit Japan at 5.45 GMT today, causing widespread devastation in the form of landslides, floods and even a 4-metre high tsunami. If you have family and friends in Japan, and want to keep track of everything that is happening, here are a few ways to do so:

Google’s Person Finder
The search giant launched “Person Finder: 2011 Japan Earthquake” shortly after the earthquake hit. The Web-based app allows you to look for a person by searching his name, and, should there not be a result, let you create a new record for a missing person. The service is available in both Japanese and English, and should be very handy for those trying to locate a loved one.

Live blogs
Many news outlets are live-blogging the catastrophe on the fly, including BBC News, Reuters, and The Guardian. Accompanying the live blogs are interactive maps, videos, and pictures. You can also contribute by submitting information on the unfolding disaster.

Arabic news network Al-Jazeera is providing live coverage over on their channel.

Twitter is an excellent place to hear what people on the ground are saying. Virtually all trending topics right now are about the disaster, including #prayforjapan and #tsunami. Searching for “Japan earthquake” on Twitter also yielded numerous results.

If you have any other ways of tracking the earthquake, do share them in the comments below. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people affected by the disaster.

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