Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Smartphone Earthquake Apps

Recently, two smartphone apps were released that offer location reporting options for anyone caught in an earthquake.  First, ahead of the IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference being held in Seattle, Washington this week, developer Adam Wells of Australia has begun offering Earthquake Buddy at the iPhone App Store. Among its features, if the iPhone's sensors determine an earthquake of 5.0 or greater has occurred, the app will automatically send an email indicating the location of the report and that help may be needed. Those emails are sent to individuals designated in advance by the app owner. Second, the American Red Cross has rolled out an app with many of the same capabilities as Earthquake Buddy, but instead of automatically sending a notification to family and friends about the earthquake, the owner can manually send a "I'm safe" notification. To learn more about these applications, use the links below:

Keeping Safe During Earthquakes? There’s An App For That (Homeland Security Newswire, October 3, 2012)

Comment: Excellent efforts!  Over time it would be great to see a technical approach that would allow the Emergency Management community to automatically aggregate, filter and plot reports from these apps, instead of only relying on friends and family to provide follow-up.  

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