There is a significant pool of untapped sensor resources available in portable computer embedded motion sensors. With the ShakeMapple project, we have developed a system to capture strong-motion accelerometric data from these sensors in order to map earthquake shaking intensity. In populated areas where a significant number of laptops may available, these sensor data could be used to better constrain the localized shaking intensities of an earthquake. This may in turn assist in the direction and deployment of emergency response personnel to areas of greater impact.
The EMSC, in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh,
has developed an application to take advantage of Apple laptop sudden motion sensors
to record shaking and generate felt maps of locally-felt earthquakes.
When an earthquake has occurred near the laptop, the application sends its recorded motion data in to the EMSC.
From this, a felt map representing the measured intensity of the shaking across the region is produced.
This can help civil authorities identify areas where the most shaking -
and therefore the highest probability for damage - has occurred, as well as
help seismologists understand the variability of local conditions and site effects.
With additional information provided by the user about their building,
the gathered information can also help engineers understand the building response to shaking.
How does it work?
The ShakeMapple client continuously records the sensor data and periodically checks with the ShakeMapple servers to see if there has been an earthquake nearby. This is the same approach used by other applications checking for software updates or newer versions. By checking with the servers to see if there was an actual earthquake, we eliminate the many false positives we would have if the application were to try to analyze the signal itself. If an earthquake has occurred in the general vicinity of the laptop, the ShakeMapple client first sends in a preliminary Peak Acceleration measurement based on the default location. After that, the user is asked to precisely locate where the laptop was at the time of the earthquake. From that, the application can more precisely calculate the appropriate Peak Acceleration, which is then submitted to the ShakeMapple servers.
Some technical details are available here.
The ShakeMapple client application and server systems are under development and are currently being tested. We are planning a large-scale proof-of-concept test and expect to deploy a small network in earthquake-prone regions in the next few months.
We are currently collecting email addresses for individuals interested in participating in the testing and/or deployment of the application network. More information on the test can be found here.If you are interested in participating, please preregister here: http://www.emsc-csem.org/shakemapple/preregister/
or contact the EMSC at: