How Your Smartphone Could Be The Key To Detecting Earthquakes Early

Smartphone generated earthquake alerts could be the wave of the future for getting the word out that an earthquake is beginning. An earthquake warning system is effective only if people are alerted before they feel the shaking begin in their location. Scientific equipment is the best way to detect an earthquake, but a less expensive way to detect earthquakes is using Smartphone technology and crowdsourced GPS data from Smartphones in use around the world to recognize when faults begin shifting and provide immediate alerts.

U.S. Geological Survey Researchers, NASA researchers, and two universities’ research teams are involved in making the Smartphone Generated earthquake alerts a viable option. If the phones help detect it, then the information can be shared quickly and notifications can sweep across Smartphones in the path of the earthquake. Researchers say that it is much more economical to do this and would definitely assist regions that do not have any scientific warning system in place.

According to a Mashable report, Pakistan and Indonesia would be particularly helped by this Smartphone alert system. It seems illogical that imprecise instruments can create precise data, but the more imprecise data that you have available, the more precise the data becomes, according to a researcher from Carnegie Mellon University. The study report states that electronic alerts roll out faster than the tremors move so it is a plausible way to alert the public to an earthquake.

The Smartphone technology works best on large earthquakes. A potential problem with this technology is that many people do not want to share their phone’s data with others. A possible solution is government issued phones that can be used personally and provide data useful in alerting for earthquakes.

Nations located within The Ring of Fire do not have warning systems in place at this time. This new Smartphone technology would be of great service to those living in the Pacific Rim, the Caribbean, South Asia, and Central and South America. A pilot project is currently being tested in Chile. It is a collaboration between the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Chilean Centro Sismologico Nacional that is working to test a hybrid earthquake warning system. Standalone smartphone sensors and scientific sensors would be placed along the Chilean coast to detect movement and alert the public to the impending earthquake.

Crowdsourcing has been used in other areas, and it is soon to be taken seriously and widely applied in the scientific community. Lives could be saved by earthquakes detected early by Smartphone technology.

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