In the wake of recent terror attacks in Paris, which resulted in the deaths of 12 people at the office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the State Department issued a “Worldwide Caution” alert on January 9. Earlier this week, a hacker group called CyberCaliphate, claiming to be associated to ISIS, hacked into the Pentagon’s U.S. Central Command Twitter feed and YouTube account. Theses events and other international threats have prompted citizens of the world to stand in solidarity, and not show signs of fear. At the same time, traveling for business or pleasure is a concern for some.
As acts of terrorism continue striking cites across the world, the need for global travel safety is paramount. From international attacks to cyber battles to environmental issues to street crime, having access to relevant data can help travelers plan their schedules, determine alternative routes, and aid them in making emergency decisions. While travel alerts from the U.S. State Department are helpful, they don’t always cover tourist destinations up front, and sometime deter people from wanting to travel when conditions are actually safe in desired locations. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an app to keep you on top of your travel game?
To help frequent travelers stay aware of important travel information and insight, the tech start-up GeoSure created a personalized mobile tool that provides up-to-date crime and safety statistics, as well as crowdsourced intelligence from a global community of travelers and users. Gathering updated stats from hundreds of sources including the United Nations, CDC, WHO, Interpol, and other authorities, GeoSure’s predictive analytical engine monitors threat temperatures in political climates, cyber security, health risks, the environment, and conditions for women. Users are able to submit reports and see the vulnerability of their current location and destination from anywhere in the world.
“What we are trying to do is provide insights and feedback using all the data that's out there,” says GeoSure CEO, Michael Becker. “There's tons of data from government sites all over the world and it’s available for anyone. We are aggregating it and customizing it through a pretty innocuous personalization profile that users can fill out. It's not mandatory, necessary. or required. But it improves and refines it, and makes the threat temperatures more accurate.”
In December, GeoSure released an updated version of the app, which includes improved globe graphics and a Helpful Hints section. Some cities listed in the app will soon be partitioned to the neighborhood level. New York, for example, is partitioned into 65 distinct neighborhoods with specific profiles and narrative.
“Given the backdrop of increasing instability, geopolitical headwinds, if you will, we just saw more and more of a need to create something that was a little more contextualized than just reading a report that one might pick up off from a website, state department or foreign commonwealth office about how dangerous it is to go anywhere in the world,” says Becker. “We have data granulized down to the neighborhood, literally the street level.”
Whether you’re traveling locally or globally, staying abreast of your surroundings is essential, and doing so may help save lives. At the very least, it will ensure a more enjoyable trip.