Google is now expanding its Android Earthquake Alerts System to Greece and New Zealand.
Taking advantage of the huge availability of Android phones everywhere, Google last year launched a system that collects early seismological data and alerts significant swathes of a population that they may be affected by an earthquake.
The Android Earthquake Alerts System uses sensors in Android smartphones to detect earthquakes around the world. It’s a free system that gives Google Search “near-instant information […] about local seismic events when you search ‘Earthquake near me.'”
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The system is now being expanded to Android users in countries outside the U.S. – the first of which being Greece and New Zealand. In those countries, Android users will now receive automatic early warning alerts when an earthquake takes place near them.
Users can, of course, turn off these alerts in the device settings, should they not want to receive them.
The Android Earthquake System was developed in California together with the United States Geological Survey and California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
The process was based on ShakeAlert, the earthquake early warning system for the West Coast of the US, collecting data from Google Search, passing it by more than 700 local seismometers, and then sending notifications to Android smartphones located in the affected area.
The notifications successfully arrived a few seconds before the shakes, giving people enough time to shelter or hold onto something. Since last year, Google has been working on further developing the system of crowdsourced data collection from Android phones’ movement sensors.
Any Android user, anywhere in the world, can join the Android Earthquake Alert System and put their phone’s mini accelerometers at the service of the initiative, gathering valuable information that can help others and research in general. Notifications, however, are currently limited to the U.S., Greece, and New Zealand.
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