Anthony Baxter works on Google’s Crisis Response team.
Every month more than a billion users access Google Maps’ robust platform to suss out location data and find their way from A to B. During natural disasters, the platform can also pull together trusted data from local agencies to show the spread of a bushfire, or the track of a typhoon.
Anthony Baxter started working with the Google Crisis Response team back in the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria in 2009, which killed 173 people. In the most recent 2019-20 bushfire season, he worked with a Google team to provide SOS alerts for areas impacted by the bushfires. The alerts provide the most up-to-date data from different state agencies on the severity of the fires, as well as visuals of the fire spread.
The Google team works with various agencies like the Rural Fire Service to help craft the messages on the SOS alerts, so the best possible information gets out to the audience. “There’s a certain amount of curation in the type of data and trust in the data,” says Anthony. “You need to think about what the data shows and whether it might be confusing, misleading or out of date. It’s really vital to have these experts who know what they are talking about.”
Day-to-day Anthony also works on the Android version of Google Maps, but there’s heaps of other things he does in his work life, from helping out crisis agencies during times of natural disasters, to working with user interface designers to improve the way we use Google Maps on our phones.
“It’s not just sitting at your desk coding with headphones!” says Anthony. “I’m working with people all across the organisation.”
Author: Heather Catchpole
Heather co-founded Careers with STEM publisher Refraction Media. She loves storytelling, Asian food & dogs and has reported on science stories from live volcanoes and fossil digs