US researchers have developed an app that uses the smartphone network to detect earthquakes: MyShake.
The free app (MyShake) , available only for users of Android, turns out, according to its developers, very useful for people living in countries without conventional warning systems.
MyShake smartphone uses the sensors, acceleration indicators for detecting vibration. This information is transferred in real time to a central system, together with satellite data on the spot. The central system and all the data collection of different smartphones and is then able to alert the regions that will feel the quake most likely in a later stage.
“We need at least 300 phones in a radius of 110 kilometers to obtain reliable information on the location, magnitude, and the start time of the earthquake,” says Richard Allen of the seismological laboratory at the UC Berkeley.
The existing early warning systems (EEW) receive seismological data, when recording vibrations. They then send a warning to areas likely to be affected by the earthquake. This type of warning gives people valuable seconds or minutes to find shelter, get a lift, protect children or park their car away from the road.
The EEW systems are expensive and “notwithstanding the fact that many countries already use, there is little seismic stations,” says Allen. “But in countries such as Nepal or Peru, there are millions of smartphone users.”
In 2015, two earthquakes killed 8,000 people in Nepal and 21,000 were injured. “In the case of the largest earthquake that of Kathmandu, the app could issue a warning 20 seconds earlier,” says Allen. (IPS)