Video: San Mateo County Leverages Open Data and Open Communication During Flood Season

Whenever the San Francisco Bay Area is hit by heavy rains, San Mateo County provides sandbags to its residents who need help shoring up their homes. John Ridener, Open Data Community Liaison of San Mateo County, maintains a sandbag location dataset published on the Open San Mateo County data portal. It helps residents and businesses in the area by mapping the sites where the sandbags are being distributed.

Communicating Open Data Messages

Along with open data, social media has been a powerful tool in helping spread the word about sandbags, and ultimately helping to prevent flood damage. Working alongside the County’s social media manager, Ridener is able to quickly promote updates with the latest sandbag sites through official Twitter and Facebook accounts whenever a storm seems imminent. The sandbag locations map is integrated with Google Maps so residents can not only find the sandbag distribution center most convenient to them, but also driving directions for getting there. Ridener is gratified to see spikes in engagement with each message, because it means that information is getting to the individuals and businesses that need it.

Visit San Mateo’s sandbag tracker here:

Read more about San Mateo’s data platform: