Update: a basic twitter geocode search how-to

think disaster: a blog by Scott Reuter (@sct_r)

I just re-wrote and simplified my instructions for creating a fast, simple twitter geocode search, as my previous blog post has links in the instructions that don’t work anymore.

1-  Go to a latitude/longitude finder such as https://itouchmap.com/latlong.html and enter the place or address that you need a lat/long for in the search bar. If you have an address, include it, but you can also use a town name and state, or a town name and country. (NOTE: It is sometimes worth verifying a lat/long search result. For instance, you might want to try running the same search in google maps and compare lat/long results.)

An alternative way to obtain the latitude longitude is to do a google search, then copy the lat/long straight out of the web address. Here’s an example:


Notice that in the above web address, the lat/long is already formatted and ready to copy out. Below…

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How do you control chaos during a false alarm?

This Los Angeles Times story, posted earlier today, highlights the panic that comes when people think they are in danger.

Patrons at LAX stormed onto the tarmac to escape what appeared to be shots fired in the airport. Those sounds may have been suitcases dropping as people fled, only adding to more panic.

No active shooter was found. But the incident marked the second time in two weeks that a major international airport was paralyzed by false reports of gunfire.

Airport officials and security experts said the LAX incident and a shutdown at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport this month show how difficult it can be to control mass panic.

For all the investments in post-9/11 security improvements and training, the confusion and chaos stemming from a false report of violence can actually be harder to handle than dealing with a gunman, officials say. The hunt for a gunman takes much longer when there is no one to find. (LA Times)

Now, it will be time for the after-action review to see if recommendations from a previous incident at LAX in 2013, in which a gunman in Terminal 3 killed a Transportation Security Administration officer, are working.

Officials at the time cited poor communication between law enforcement and the public and recommended getting better radio equipment and establishing teams to help stranded passengers.

So, let’s armchair quarterback this…

What would you do? What would your agency do? How quickly do you have the ability to get intel that can be passed onto the public? How quickly can operations understand what is going on to effectively inform the public? What prescripted messages would help?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.




This is a touching blog post related to the shooting deaths of two journalists yesterday in Virginia. If you worked in the media before becoming a PIO, you can relate. If you never worked in the media, here’s some insight into that world. In the end, we’re all the same.


I imagine I am Alison Parker, doing a live shot, yet another live shot, one of a dozen that will fill the work week. I imagine how the sun rises behind her in the moments before it happens, how her photographer Adam has to adjust his camera to accommodate the encroaching fingers of light. Maybe…

Source: Roanoke

Cautionary tale, shared from NIOA

This post appeared today on the National Information Officers Association blog, which can be found here:


NIOA member Dani Moschella, Broward Sheriff’s Office, Ft. Lauderdale, recently shared this word of caution to other public information officers and their leadership team. When scheduling interviews, always know the intent of the interview and use your time and your agency name wisely.

Here’s her story:

We had a request from a producer at In View hosted by Larry King who asked to talk to Sheriff Israel for a 20-30 minute off-the-record chat as they prepare a show on diversity in America.

image of In View program logoShe said they were in their preliminary phase and want[ed] to speak to the sheriff to see if he would be a suitable contributor for the program. Of course, she would talk to him specifically about diversity in law enforcement.

…the sheriff spoke to her at length on that topic, and then when he went to hang up, she read him a lengthy, prepared statement explaining that if he paid $25,000, they would book him on the show. You can’t tell from the website, but it’s basically an infomercial. Huge waste of time. The woman’s name is Randi Gardner [Randi@inviewseries.com, 561-279-3550 ext. 119]

Editor Note: Some programming references on the In View web site include the reference “paid educational programming.”

This information was shared for the benefit and resource of NIOA members and other interested parties. It is an experience shared by a member of NIOA and may not reflect the position or policies of the Board of Directors or the opinions of the general membership.