William Savran1, Robert Petersen2, Madeline Wukusick3

1 Department of Geological Sciences, San Diego State University
2 Scripps Instituion of Ocranography
3 MW Designs

Smartphone interface to USGS “Did You Feel It?” Getting More Citizens Involved in Science

Research Objectives:

Over the last hundred years, we have put forth a concerted effort to install a dense array of seismometers – used to monitor and measure seismic waves propagating through the earth. In addition to expensive instrumentation, citizens provide useful data to the earthquake science community as demonstrated by the USGS “Did you feel it?” project. Currently, the “Did You Feel It?” data is acquired, through an internet browser, from a long questionnaire. With the increasing number of smartphone owners, an application interfacing the population with the “Did you feel it?” project introduces the next logical step in progressing this technology. We are developing an application, which utilizes many features of modern smartphones to provide a better interface from citizen to scientist. Our application will notify users of any earthquake within a predefined distance above a predefined size. At this point, the user has the option to answer the questionnaire and send their experience of the earthquake to the USGS “Did you feel it?” database or simply decline. Instead of a cumbersome web-form, the user will be prompted for questions in line with the paradigm of current smartphone application development. An easy, interactive interface allows the user to answer the questions rapidly in a fun manner, resulting in more participation. In addition to putting earthquake science into the hands of many more citizens, the application will also allow the user to place an emergency call in case of casualty during the next big one. Future versions of the application will allow users to take, view, and submit photographs of damage caused by the earthquake. Also, users will be able to view intensity maps generated for the event they evaluated. The USGS has already done an incredible job setting up the “Did you feel it?” framework; having a more accessible user interface to acquire data will greatly expand the possibilities of the “Did you feel it?” project.

2013 AGU Annual Meeting