LastQuake is a unique earthquake detection system. It’s a perfect blend of collaborative work from eyewitnesses and of data collection from seismic institutes. Do you know how it works?
Check out the new European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) video explaining the magic behind their multichannel rapid information system in a culturally neutral way.
At the intersection between seismology, citizen science, and digital communication, its aim is twofold: to offer timely, appropriate information in regions where an earthquake is felt and to collect high numbers of eyewitnesses’ direct and indirect observations about the degree of shaking being felt and possible damage incurred. This, in turn, will improve rapid situation awareness and augment data at a relatively low cost. Engagement with eyewitnesses is based on the rapid provision of tremor detection (between few tens of seconds to a couple of minutes from when the earthquake strikes) which is derived from the analysis of indirect information, i.e., digital footprints of Internet and social media searches by eyewitnesses eager to find out the cause of the tremor. This detection generally precedes detection by seismic networks. Eyewitness’ behavior is comparable to real-time seismic sensors when using EMSC websites or LastQuake smartphone app. The hit times on the EMSC websites and launch times of the app closely follow seismic wave propagation. Crowdsourced data (felt reports, geo-located pictures, and open comments) is then fed back into the ongoing information product improvement and situation awareness which, in turn, attracts more eyewitnesses through a viral spread, thus creating a positive feedback loop.