There is a novel approach for information assimilation emerging through Wikis and using Maps. this approach allows citizen reporters and other interested people to enter information through Wikis on Maps. It was demonstrated for some of the disasters like Katrina. You can see and explore this here.
This is a good indicator of things to come. Currently it is being done for Katrina, but soon one can expect this to progress along two important directions. First this approach could be extended easily to provide situation assesment during disaster situation by colecting not only reports and updates like the one shown here but also photos, videos, and other information to update what is really happening there.
Another interesting direction for this to evolve will be to build good maps for emerging countries that are currently not supported by mapquest or navteq like companies. This maps, or wikimaps, will provide resources in developing countries like India where currently there is no such resource available from an organized business unit.
Technology needs just some extensions, what is really required are some innovative and energetic business people.