Crowd control at President-elect Barack Obama's January 20 inauguration ceremony will present quite a challenge: On top of the 240,000 ticketed guests who will descend upon the National Mall that day, millions more are expected to join. Ten thousand charter buses will converge on the Washington area. Metro riders have been warned to be prepared "to stand in close proximity to several thousand people."
To manage all of those people, inauguration organizers are turning to text messaging and Twitter.
In an advisory released Monday, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies warned that making calls from cell phones that day may be difficult and that critical messages should be sent via text message.
The organization is also urging inauguration-goers to check out the District of Columbia's inaugural Web site. There visitors can sign up for Alert DC, through which DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management sends text notifications and updates during a major crisis or emergency.
For help navigating the crowded streets of Washington that day--emergency or otherwise--the Presidential Inauguration Committee has set up a Twitter account. It is currently updated with official logistical and scheduling information, and on the day of the ceremony it will be regularly updated with transportation, weather, and event information.
Apple's App Store also boasts at least one iPhone application to help spectators survive the hectic day.