With the recent updates in Google’s open-source operating system Android. We see a lot of security and personal safety updates and features. Android, as an operating system, has grown with the past couple of significant updates. It is now a much more diverse ecosystem.
This time around the new feature that Google brings for users is Earthquake Detection, along with safety alerts to users via smartphones. This will prove vital in saving lives for regions with high earthquake risks.
Now it is not financially possible to deploy an earthquake detection system everywhere. They are relatively expensive and require an amount of expertise to implement. What google is planning to do is sending users timely alerts in case of a natural calamity like this so that people get to safety.
So instead of installing a ground network of seismometers, Google is using the Android platform to detect Earthquakes.
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“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.”
Interestingly this system will use accelerometers in our smartphones. The accelerometer data from a phone will identify an earthquake. When it does, it will send that data along with a rough location to a dedicated earthquake detection server at Google.
The server will determine whether this report is actually accurate or false positive. In case of multiple reports from a location, the server will send out an earthquake alert to all the phones in that area.
Earthquake detection in California:
To kickstart this idea, Google is going to start earthquake alerts to Android users in California. Google joins hands with the United States Geological Survey to make this project happen. With the assistance of California Governer’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES).
They will send emergency alerts like earthquake warnings with ShakeAlert. Google said that “We’re essentially racing the speed of light (which is roughly the speed at which signals from phone travel) against the speed of an earthquake. And lucky for us, the speed of light is much faster!”
As for now, Google plans to implement this feature to share an overview of the affected area when users google the keywords “Earthquake”. With this implementation, when someone will search for an “earthquake” or “earthquake near me,”. Google will show them results around their location along with useful links containing instructions to cope with such an emergency.
Google worked with seismology and disaster experts Dr. Richard Allen, Dr. Qingkai Kong, and Dr. Lucy Jones to develop this crowdsourced approach for detecting earthquakes all around the world. As for now, the testing stages will be carried out in different locations around the world to help the prediction of earthquakes.
There is nothing wrong with saying that the whole world or major city’s deployment is an idea far in the future. However, it surely depends on how this method behaves in California state testing.
Google says that they have a primary seismometer-based system in place in California. In the next year, people around the globe will see this feature coming to their countries and states.