Android Has Now Become the Largest Earthquake Detection Network in the World

Aug 11, 2020
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Android as an operating system is becoming more and more diverse with Google trying to roll out new changes into the OS. With that said, the latest change that Android is about to see is going to be earthquake detection as well as early alerts that will be delivered on our Android smartphones. Earthquakes happen to be calamities that end up affecting millions of people living in regions that are prone to earthquakes.

Sadly, a proper earthquake detection infrastructure that is also public is not something that is cheap to develop and deploy. This is where Google is stepping in as they are going to use the Android OS to not just provide people with "timely, helpful, earthquake information" but will also provide them with early notifications to get themselves to safety.

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Google is Going to Start Sending Earthquake Alerts to Android Devices in California

In order to make that happen, Google has collaborated with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) as well as California Governer's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to send earthquake alerts that will be powered by ShakeAlert, and these alerts will be sent directly to Android devices in California, at the time of writing.

instead of installing a ground network of seismometers, Google is using Android platform to help and detect earthquakes. This is what they had to say on its blog post.

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.

All smartphones come with tiny accelerometers that can sense signals that indicate an earthquake might be happening. If the phone detects something that it thinks may be an earthquake, it sends a signal to our earthquake detection server, along with a coarse location of where the shaking occurred. The server then combines information from many phones to figure out if an earthquake is happening. We’re essentially racing the speed of light (which is roughly the speed at which signals from a phone travel) against the speed of an earthquake. And lucky for us, the speed of light is much faster!

The company has also talked about their plans of extending the same services to more states as well as countries in the coming years.

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