Google Expands Android-Based Earthquake Detection System
Google is expanding its Android-based earthquake detection and alert system. Starting today, the program, which launched last year in California, will also be available in Greece and New Zealand.
The company relies entirely on its products to both detect earthquakes and alert people. Android devices first recognize waves caused by an earthquake. Google then analyzes the data from smartphones and sends an early warning to users in an area with increased seismic activity. They will be notified automatically if they do not refuse the service. When Google began this work, it partnered with the US Geological Survey and the Governor of California’s Emergency Management Department. Over time, this feature expanded to Oregon and will be launched in Washington in May.
Earthquake detection works because virtually every smartphone is equipped with an accelerometer capable of detecting primary and secondary earthquake waves, acting like a mini seismometer. Connecting millions of Android smartphones will form the world’s largest earthquake detection network.
However, this feature has some limitations. For example, people closest to the source of an earthquake probably will not receive an alert ahead of time. However, their smartphones will help alert those further away, giving them time to take cover.
It’s no secret that Android is the leading mobile operating system, so this feature holds great promise for development. Eventually, Google will be able to develop an API based on its earthquake detection system. Other systems will be able to use it to alert and prevent the consequences of other emergencies.