Tech Companies Come Out In Force For Japan Relief


Companies across the tech world are doing their best to help Japan recover following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. That’s in addition to the general outpouring of support shown to Japan by other, “non-tech” people and organizations. With that in mind, I’ve taken a few moments to round-up some of the efforts I’ve spotted online that aim to make a little bit easier for the people of Japan.

MapQuest’s recently launched, crowd-sourced maps service is up and running in Japan, and the idea is for people on the ground to affix it with helpful labels along the lines of “road’s out here” or “clinic located here.” The hope is that the crowd-sourced maps will be fleshed out to the extent that they can be given to government officials, the Red Cross and other charities, etc. to help them plan their relief efforts. MapQuest has worked with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency to ensure that the maps on the site accurately reflect the damage caused by the tsunami.

Google, too, has a number of links that point to relevant sites and agencies, including a handy Google Checkout Red Cross donation box.

The MMO Eve Online, which we discussed at some length several months ago, also has rather novel program called Plex for Good: Japan. What it does is give players a quick and easy way to convert plex (the in-game currency) into real world currency and then have it donated to various relief organizations. Players have donated some $63,000 via the program so far, and it’s in effect until March 31.

Both Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Time Warner Cable have said that calls to Japan will be free for the next few weeks.

A number of Japanese video game publishers, including Nintendo, Sega, and Sony have committed to donate several million dollars toward relief efforts.

Those are a few items I’ve found with just some quick searching here and there. If you know of any other sort of “tech response” to the crisis feel free to leave it in the comments, or send it to either of our tip lines.