Innovation That Matters

Seismic app

App turns smartphones into seismic monitors


An app that enables anyone to contribute to a worldwide seismic network and help people prepare for earthquakes.

The sheer number of smartphones on the planet make them excellent tools for collecting scientific data. We have already seen citizen scientists use their devices to help crowdsource big data about jellyfish and pollution. Now, MyShake is an Android app from Berkeley University, which enables anyone to contribute to a worldwide seismic network and help reduce the effects of earthquakes.


To begin, users download the app and enable it to run silently in the background of their smartphone. The app monitors for movement that fits the vibrational profile of an earthquake and sends anonymous information to a central system whenever relevant. The crowdsourced data enables the system to confirm an impending quake and estimate its origin time, location and magnitude. Then, the app can send warnings to those in the network who are likely to be affected by the earthquake. MyShake makes use of on the fact that the average smartphone can record earthquakes larger than magnitude five and within 10 km.


MyShake is free to download and the team hopes to launch an iPhone version in the future. What other measurements could be collected in this way?



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