Georgia billboard companies on Tuesday began broadcasting live Twitter feeds from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and Georgia Department of Transportation on hundreds of digital billboards around the state.
The Outdoor Advertising Association of Georgia (OAAG) has had a mutual agreement with the two state agencies for years to broadcast emergency information, but the technology only recently became available to embed live Twitter feeds, according to Conner A. Poe, executive director of the OAAG. It was used for the first time Tuesday.
The information that appears on the billboards will be a fixed message that pops up for eight to nine seconds before changing to show several other rotating ads, said Poe.
“I know GEMA put some shelter information up, and GDOT was putting some warnings about slick areas and accidents out there,” Poe said. “As they update (their Twitter feed), it automatically updates on the digital billboards.”
The technology needed to post live Twitter feeds was available when the last winter storm hit on Jan. 28, however Poe said that storm came on so quickly that the billboard companies had not coordinated with the state to start using billboards for that kind of public service messaging.
Since then, Poe said he has been in contact with Gov. Nathan Deal’s Office and in talks with the newly formed Severe Weather Task Force about how the billboard industry could assist with public messaging during winter storms and emergencies.