Earthquake Early Warning Beta Users: Java, Modeling, and Mobile Apps

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Jennifer Ann Strauss, UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, United States, Margaret Vinci, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States, William P Steele, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States, Richard M Allen, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, United States and Margaret Hellweg, Berkeley Seismological Lab, Orinda, CA, United States
Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) is a system that can provide a few to tens of seconds warning prior to ground shaking at a user’s location. The goal and purpose of such a system is to reduce, or minimize, the damage, costs, and casualties resulting from an earthquake. A demonstration earthquake early warning system (ShakeAlert) is undergoing testing in the United States by the UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, Caltech, ETH Zurich, University of Washington, the USGS, and beta users in California and the Pacific Northwest. The beta users receive earthquake information very rapidly in real-time and are providing feedback on their experiences of performance and potential uses within their organization.

Beta user interactions allow the ShakeAlert team to discern: which alert delivery options are most effective, what changes would make the UserDisplay more useful in a pre-disaster situation, and most importantly, what actions users plan to take for various scenarios. Actions could include: personal safety approaches, such as drop cover, and hold on; automated processes and procedures, such as opening elevator or fire stations doors; or situational awareness. Users are beginning to determine which policy and technological changes may need to be enacted, and funding requirements to implement their automated controls.

The use of models and mobile apps are beginning to augment the basic Java desktop applet. Modeling allows beta users to test their early warning responses against various scenarios without having to wait for a real event. Mobile apps are also changing the possible response landscape, providing other avenues for people to receive information. All of these combine to improve business continuity and resiliency.