Photo: Google

With this week's wildfires, Google is using the power of two U.S. satellites to provide a clearer and more quickly updated view of how the blazes are spreading.

Why it matters: Official information can often be hard to find and presented in less than straightforward ways, especially for those trying to quickly assess their situation in an emergency.

What's new: Google is drawing on both near-infrared and visible spectrum images to create a map of the Kincade Fire in Northern California, which can be updated every 5-20 minutes.

It's then combining the map with other official information as part of its official page on the fire.

History lesson: Google has offered crisis response informally since at least 2005, with efforts growing and becoming more formalized over the years. Last year it began testing a flood prediction tool for India.

What's next: Google hopes to expand beyond the U.S. to offer similar alerts in other countries.

"We think natural disasters are only going to get bigger as climate change takes hold," said Pete Giencke, a product manager for Google search.

Go deeper

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The FDA plans to toughen coronavirus vaccine standards

President Trump and FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn. Photo: Pete Marovich/Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration plans to toughen the requirements for a coronavirus vaccine emergency authorization, which would make it more difficult for one to be ready by the election, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: Public skepticism of an eventual vaccine keeps increasing as President Trump keeps making promises that are at odds with members of his own administration.

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Wall Street fears meltdown over election and Supreme Court

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and President Trump's vow to name her replacement to the Supreme Court before November's election are amplifying Wall Street's worries about major volatility and market losses ahead of and even after the election.

The big picture: The 2020 election is the most expensive event risk on record, per Bloomberg — with insurance bets on implied volatility six times their normal level, according to JPMorgan analysts. And it could take days or even weeks to count the record number of mail-in ballots and declare a winner.

Election clues county by county

Ipsos and the University of Virginia's Center for Politics are out with an interactive U.S. map that goes down to the county level to track changes in public sentiment that could decide the presidential election.

How it works: The 2020 Political Atlas tracks President Trump's approval ratings, interest around the coronavirus, what's dominating social media and other measures, with polling updated daily — enhancing UVA's "Crystal Ball."

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