This New York Times article describes how the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy necessitated the development of mobile apps to organize volunteers and relief efforts:
Not long after the hurricane hit, Mr. Sims’s company was among those that began organizing events known as hackathons, where programmers and engineers develop applications and services around a central need or theme.
George Shank, an interactive software developer who works with Mr. Sims, helped build a service called Sprout Help that relays information about where to send supplies and how to volunteer effectively.
“A lot of it stemmed from wanting to help but not being sure how to do it,” Mr. Shank said. “We heard stories of people going to fire stations to volunteer and being turned away.”