Web Exclusive: Google Maps angers some Superstorm Sandy victims

(WCBS/CNN) - Homeowners hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy say they're in desperate need of help from the government.  They need money and assistance to repair their homes, rebuild their businesses and get their lives back to normal.  But, when a well-known company paid a visit to one neighborhood devastated by the storm, not everyone was rejoicing.  

If your house looks like this, ravaged from hurricane sandy, you might not want it photographed by Google for its 360 degree panoramic neighborhood map technology.
But Google has been out in force on Staten Island snapping photos for the site.  It allows anyone in the world to type an address and see the property.  The Trainer family lived on Cedar Grove Avenue . Google maps update will change the picture of their home to what it looks like now. Tracy Freeo is their neighbor.  "To show our location, this is not what we are.  This is what happened to us," says Tracy Freeo, Staten Island Resident.  "Well, I've seen enough people coming by taking pictures, and to me, it's gawking. We don't need that right now. We need help," says George Jorgensen, Staten Island Resident.

Google doesn't see it that way.  In a statement a spokesperson says, "We hope this accurate, updated imagery will help people around the world better understand the extent of the damage and the importance of coming together as a community to aid in the recovery efforts."

Marie Mandia, who lost everything in her home says she's ok with the updated images.
"If you look around, it's like a flower opening around here.  You hear the generators, you hear the hammers and the saws.  The flower is opening up and we're coming back," says Mandia.

But others seem to think it showcases Staten Island at its worst.  "It's unfortunate.  I'd like people to remember the neighborhoods as they once were: pristine little beach communities here on the shores of Staten Island," says Joseph Bello, Staten Island Resident.

Google hasn't worked out specifics yet as to when the next photos will be taken, but the company said it is committed to re-driving affected areas to show the recovery progress over time.


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