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Japanese-Language Myshake App Crowdsources Earthquake Shaking


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Some of the 121 earthquakes to date for which MyShake has recorded some seismic data.

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have released a Japanese version of an Android app that crowdsources ground-shaking information from smartphones to detect quakes.

Credit: Berkeley News

University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) researchers have released a Japanese version of MyShake, an application that crowdsources ground-shaking information from smartphones to detect earthquakes and warn users of impending tremors.

MyShake runs in the background and uses little power, enabling a phone's built-in accelerometers to record local shaking at any time. The app collects information from the accelerometers, analyzes it and, if it fits the vibrational profile of an earthquake, relays it and the phone's global-positioning system coordinates to the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory for analysis.

The app was first released in English in February, and since then more than 170,000 people worldwide have downloaded it. On any given day, 11,000 phones provide data to the system, which already has recorded earthquakes in Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, and across North America.

When more people start using the app, seismologists plan to use the data to warn people miles from the epicenter that an aftershock could be imminent.

"We think MyShake can make earthquake early warning faster and more accurate in areas that have a traditional seismic network, such as Japan, and can provide life-saving early warning in countries that have no seismic network," says UC Berkeley professor Richard Allen.

The researchers also are developing Spanish and Chinese versions of the MyShake app.

From Berkeley News
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