Android smartphones to create the world’s biggest earthquake detection network

Published: 12 August 2020 - midnight

Google’s Android phones could help to create the world’s largest earthquake detection network, according to senior officials at the US based firm.

In a blog post earlier this week, Marc Stogaitis, principal software engineer for Android, said that all Android smartphone users now had the opportunity to become a part of the network.

“Starting today, your Android phone can be part of the Android Earthquake Alerts System, wherever you live in the world. This means your Android phone can be a mini seismometer, joining millions of other Android phones out there to form the world’s largest earthquake detection network,” he said.

“All smartphones come with tiny accelerometers that can sense signals that indicate an earthquake might be happening. If the phone detects something that it thinks may be an earthquake, it sends a signal to our earthquake detection server, along with a coarse location of where the shaking occurred.”

The Android Earthquake Alerts System could then send alerts to people the instant that irregular seismic activity is detected. This could provide users with a crucial minute or 90 second warning before the full earthquake hits – enough time to seek shelter in a safe space.

“You might be wondering, “what’s next?” We’re starting with earthquake alerts in California since there’s already a great seismometer-based system in place. Over the coming year, you can expect to see the earthquake alerts coming to more states and countries using Android’s phone-based earthquake detection,” Stogaitis concluded.

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