Packing Your Digital Go Bag - Section 9: Apps for Surveillance and Alerts

Section 9: Apps for Surveillance and Alerts


In this section, we will review apps that can be used for surveillance and alerts. Surveillance and alert apps are important tools designed to assist responders to be prepared for what is coming.

Two photos: the first of about a dozen disaster workers gathered in a room, looking at reference materials; the second is of a tornado that has touched down over a flat field and dirt road.



NWS NOW icon

National Weather Service (NWS)


The National Weather Service, a Federal agency that operates as a component of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), provides forecasts, warnings, and advisories on weather and hurricanes.

NWS NOW is the National Weather Service stand-alone app for iOS and Android. It requires Internet connectivity to receive up-to-date weather information and alerts.

NEWS NOW app, displaying the current conditions (at the time of the screenshot) for Kit Carson, CO. Conditions included 55 degrees F, with a thunderstorm in the vicinity and light rain. Alerts included hazardous weather outlook and severe thunderstorm watch.




NOAA icon

National Hurricane Center


The National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center mobile Web site provides hurricane advisories, forecasts, and tools on your smart device. Internet connectivity is required.

National Hurricane Center mobile Web site, displaying information about the Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, for June 23, 2017. Links included tropical weather outlook, tropical weather discussion, marine weather discussion, and monthly tropical cyclone summary.

National Hurricane Center mobile Web site



HealthMap icon

Outbreaks Near Me


The HealthMap mobile Web site and the accompanying HealthMap: Outbreaks Near Me mobile app use online informal sources for disease outbreak monitoring and real-time surveillance of emerging public health threats. Those sources include:

  • Online news aggregators
  • Eyewitness reports
  • Expert-curated discussions
  • Validated official reports

The information is updated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and provides an overview of current state of infectious diseases worldwide.

The app allows you to:

  • Search and browse outbreak reports on the interactive map
  • Set an alert for when an outbreak is occurring in your area
  • Be the first to report an outbreak not yet on the map by using the app's unique outbreak reporting feature, after which you will be credited and your report featured on the Web site
HealthMap map on a mobile phone, with the map zoomed in to Ohio. Icons are displayed near Akron and Columbus.
HealthMap app on a smartphone, with the Alerts section displaying several alerts including rabies virus, TB outbreak, and measles cases.

Various views of the HealthMap: Outbreaks Near Me mobile app



Key Points

In this section, we covered the following main points:

  • NWS NOW is a mobile app from the National Weather Service providing weather forecasts, warnings, and advisories.
  • The National Hurricane Center provides a mobile Web site that provides details about hurricane activity.
  • HealthMap: Outbreaks Near Me is an app that uses online informal sources for disease outbreak monitoring and surveillance of emerging public health threats.

Key Apps for Surveillance and Alerts:

  • Weather
    • National Weather Service NWS NOW
    • NOAA National Hurricane Center
  • HealthMap Web site
  • HealthMap: Outbreaks Near Me