When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast almost a year ago, people across the country and around the world wondered how to help. Many donated money; others lent their homes to dislocated survivors. A group of Googlers lent their expertise by leveraging the power of Google technology.

Over several long nights, the teams from Google Earth and Google Maps created satellite imagery overlays of the devastation in the affected region, which showed more accurately the scope of the disaster. Soon after, we were told that rescue workers and the U.S. Air Force were using Google Earth to find people who were stranded.

And last week, we received formal recognition from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Members of the NGA presented the "Hurricane Katrina Recognition Award" to the Google Earth team, as well as the Google Enterprise and Global Support groups, for their direct support during the Katrina disaster. Individual recipients included Brian McClendon, Andria McCool, Wayne Thai, Charlie Chapin, Michael Ashbridge, Chikai Ohazama, Lenette Howard, and Rob Painter, along with two folks from Carnegie Mellon University who assisted us: Randy Sargent and Anne Wright. We're pleased to be recognized in this way -- but even more pleased that we could help.