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Five useful earthquake-monitoring apps

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, August 8, 2018  /  06:15 pm
Five useful earthquake-monitoring apps

Whether in Indonesia or abroad, people can receive notifications about earthquakes from related apps. (Shutterstock/Maria Savenko)

Technology has come in handy for receiving alerts and information on disasters. 

In Indonesia, particularly, it would be useful to have ease of access to information as the archipelagic nation sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where continental plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activities.

Whether in Indonesia or abroad, people can receive notifications on earthquake monitoring from the following five apps, as compiled by

1. Disaster Alert 

Developed by the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) in Hawaii, the United States, the app allows users to search disaster points that are happening, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, storms, landslides, floods and forest fires. In fact, this application can even track the spread of a virus outbreak.

Supported by the DisasterAWARE platform developed by the PDC, Disaster Alert will provide GPS-based notifications. Users can also see other details such as which locations are dangerous.

The app is available for both iOS through iTunes and Android via Google Play.

2. Info BMKG

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has its own official app named "Info BMKG", which offers features such as earthquake notifications, early warning weather alerts and up-to-date related information from the BMKG.

Users can also get information about weather forecasts based on location. For earthquake information, only quakes with magnitudes above 5 on the Richter scale will appear as notifications, complete with the epicenter’s distance to the user's location.

The app is also available for both iOS through iTunes and Android via Google Play.

Read also: What to do when an earthquake strikes

3. QuakeFeed Earthquake Alerts 

This free app is intended specifically for iOS users who have iPhones and iPads. As the name implies, it is intended to inform users about earthquake occurrences. So far, it can only detect earthquakes of a magnitude of at least 1.0 on the Richter scale in the US and 4.5 in other countries.

Upon opening the app, users will be shown what is happening on the Ring of Fire map. They can track the list of recent earthquakes and enlarge the map to find out exactly where the disaster occurred.

The app provides information about an earthquake that occurred close to the user's location as well as information about an earthquake that is happening in a particular area, according to what the user wants to see.

That way, if you have relatives who are in the disaster area you can immediately contact them. 

The app also allows users to install a danger sign only if the earthquake’s magnitude is on a certain scale.

4. QuakeAlert

This app has only entered Early Warning Labs’ trial phase. Currently, it can only be used in beta format in the US. QuakeAlert is said to be able to inform users of an earthquake before it occurs, with up to 20 seconds early warning prior to the earthquake.

When the sensor detects vibration waves, the data will be transmitted to the US geological body (USGS) to detect the location and size of the earthquake.

The Early Warning Labs server will calculate each warning for each user, with information on an earthquake that is adjusted to personalize the shock time and intensity.

When an earthquake notification appears, in addition to details, safety instructions will be shown that users can adhere to when a quake hits.

5. Safety Tips

Developed by Japanese tourism agencies, the Safety Tips app is specifically designed for tourists. Like Indonesia, Japan is also vulnerable to natural disasters, especially earthquakes and tsunamis.

With this app, tourists, who travel to Japan, will have easier access to information about earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and weather forecasts. Safety Tips will track the GPS location on the user's mobile phone and send notifications about the earthquake.

Users can also set up five other locations to receive earthquake notifications. As it is intended for tourists, this app accommodates three languages ‚Äč‚Äčother than Japanese, namely, English, Mandarin and Korean. Nevertheless, local residents in Japan can also access the app, which is available on both iOS and Android devices. (liz/kes)

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