It is 2017 and with the technology that we have today, we should be able to at least receive an early alert or warning before a natural disaster hits us, for example, an earthquake. In this post, we will present the first ever mobile application that offers an advance warning based on its Smartphone Network.
To install the app immediately, visit: Earthquake Network at Google Play App Store
Earthquake Network, as the name suggests, is a mobile application designed to provide earthquake information, alarm, and notifications. It was developed by Francesco Finazzi of the Department of Management, Information and Production Engineering from the University of Bergamo, Italy.
Earthquake Network is a research project started in January 2013 which develops a crowdsourced Earthquake Early Warning system based on networks of smartphones. The Earthquake Network project currently involves more than 180’000 people all over the world and the network has so far detected more than 390 earthquakes in real time.
The app sources its data from three networks, namely: (1) Seismic Network; (2) Smartphone Network; and (3) User Reports. Here is a short run on each network source.
The Seismic Network is our source for official earthquake information. The data from this network comes directly from the reports publicly posted by different seismology agencies around the world. For example, for Global earthquake monitoring, the app pulls data from USGS (United States Geological Survey) and EMSC (European Mediterranean Seismological Centre).
The Earthquake Network app also uses data coming from country-based seismology agencies. The recent increase of users from the Philippines prompted the addition of PHIVOLCS or the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology in its growing list of Seismology Network source. This enabled the Filipinos to receive official bulletins from PHIVOLCS immediately.
The Smartphone Network on the other hand is based on the number of mobile phones and tablets with this application installed. It uses these gadgets as seismometers by sending the GPS location of the unit and the movements it recorded. According to the application’s FAQ, the location data is deleted from the server after 10 minutes if no earthquakes are detected.
The Earthquake Network research project aims at implementing a global scale earthquake early warning system using smartphones as accelerometers. Software at the central server declares an earthquake when the number of smartphones reporting shaking during the past 30 s exceeds a threshold based on the expected number of reports in the absence of shaking due to earthquake waves.
Here is a short video of how this works.
How can a smartphone or table act as a seismometer? It has to meet the following requirements:
- Screen is off
- Internet is on
- The unit is charging
- GPS location detection
- Has an accelerometer
- Has a magnetometer
If one of the above requirement is not met, for example my MyPhone my85-DTV lacks magnetometer, the unit can not work as a seismometer. My other unit, MyPhone Vortex (older than my85-DTV) works fine.
Yes, the more mobile phones and tablets we have active all over the Philippines in this app’s Smarthphone Network, the higher chance of receiving an advance warning, a few seconds early reaction time could mean survival. (However, if you are very near the epicenter, there is no possible way to be alerted ahead of time, we do not have the technology to predict earthquakes.)
This is the only mobile application we have seen with a User Report feature and an optional message from the user that can be attached to it. Is it possible to submit false reports? No doubt about it. However, the report will not be pushed to everyone in the area unless there are other similar reports from the other users.
Is it fool-proof? We can not say and we do not want to test. However, in a natural disaster such as an earthquake, it is necessary that we check other sources, like the Smartphone Network and Seismic Network we talked about earlier.
Earthquake Network also offers a way for users to chat and share information about an earthquake. No other earthquake application has this. The rooms however are strictly for earthquake related discussion, and rightly so.
Here is an official video on how to setup the Earthquake Network app.
What is my setup for the notifications and alarm? Please proceed to the next page of this post for a detailed list.
Part of the Earthquake Preparedness Philippines series.
Part of myAndroid Hub.
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“Earthquake Network” App by Yuki is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at Legal Notice.