Although Twitter is often dismissed as a tool used to tell people about their lunches, the use of twitter during the worst of the flood event was incredible. Information was available on Twitter as it was happening and was used to coordinate evacuations and rescues. Although some hoax information was spread through twitter, on the whole twitter was a fast and efficient way for people in crisis to obtain information and communicate.
More disappointing was the use of this disaster for self-promotion. I saw several people offering to donate in return for “retweets” on Twitter or “likes” on Facebook; understandably, there was also a lot of backlash for that sort of behaviour.
Another brilliant example of how technology has helped with the crisis is Nearmap (an Australian mapping company) - Nearmap isn't as popular as Google Maps, but in most cases have much more up to date and higher resolution imagery.
High resolution images from Nearmap show minute details of the devastation of the recent flood disasters in Brisbane and Ipswich. The photographs were taken at the request of the Brisbane and Ipswich councils and the state government and will help assist with cleanup efforts. You can switch back and forth between different photographs taken only days or weeks apart.
Although the worst of the flooding seems to be over, and businesses in Brisbane are reopening there is a lot to rebuild. To donate to the flood relief appeal, please visit the Queensland Government website.