Android devices are already helping with detection in California, now Google wants to roll the system out worldwide to offer everyone a vital few seconds of warning.
At last year's Google I/O, the company announced there were 2.5 billion active Android devices. Now all of them can help to detect earthquakes and offer a few vital seconds of notice to take cover before they hit.
Posting on the Google blog, Marc Stogaitis, Principal Software Engineer at Android, explains how the search giant worked with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to send earthquake alerts using Android devices in California. They took advantage of the ShakeAlert system, which consists of a ground network of over 700 seismometers installed across the state.
With a successful project under its belt in California, the Android team expanded the scope of the detection to encompass all Android devices regardless of where you live in the world. As Stogaiti explains, "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."
Google has a dedicated earthquake detection server which receives information from any Android device which believes it has detected an earthquake using its accelerometers. The server compiles this detection and location details to form a map of the potential earthquake. Google Search will have access to the data and can provide anyone searching for terms such as "earthquake" or "earthquake near me" with accurate details of if an earthquake occurred and exactly where it struck.
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As Google has already managed to successfully enhance the detection in California and warn people as early as possible, long-term it intends to bring the same warning system to the rest of the world. Stogaiti finish by stating, "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."
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