Google will establish a global earthquake detection network that will use data from Android devices all over the globe. It will issue warnings for those who might be affected.
On Tuesday, the Search Engine giant unveiled the first stage of the plan with an alert system for Californians. This alert system is fed data from over 100 seismometers located across California. It was developed in collaboration with the United States Institute of Geological Studies, which is responsible for monitoring seismic activity around the globe and in the United States.
Android device owners in an affected area will be notified when an earthquake is detected. They will be provided with information that includes indications of the magnitude of the quake and suggested protection actions (e.g., get on the ground or shelter under a table).
Google’s second step is much more ambitious. It aims to transform millions of Android devices into small mobile seismometers.
Many smartphones come with accelerometers that detect movement and indicate that an earthquake is taking place. Google intends to use this data for a global seismic shock detection server.
It is possible to quickly search Google for information about earthquakes and get suggestions based on that data.
This system could be especially useful in places where there is no well-developed seismometer network. An early warning system is useful for people to prepare for earthquakes, however, the infrastructure to detect them and broadcast alerts to all can be costly. Marc Stogaitis is an Android computer engineer. It was an opportunity to use Android quickly to provide useful information on earthquakes.