Friday’s Food for Thought: Mapping Earthquakes

Visualizing tremors throughout history and in real time


Have you ever wondered how many earthquakes have occurred in the last century worldwide? CityLabs reports Esri software developer Richie Carmichael created an interactive 3D visualization illustrating 10,000 earthquakes over the past 115 years.

Named Quake Map, the tool uses data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and Wikipedia to plot earthquakes that occurred between 1900 and 2015. Interestingly, Quake Map shows 13 earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.5 occurred in April 2015, and between 1950 and 1965 there was an unusually high number of earthquake activity. Users can rotate the globe and select certain years to learn when and where earthquakes have occurred.

According to The Atlantic, USGS now uses social media as a resource to detect when earthquakes have occurred. The agency began integrating its seismological data with a real-time feed of tweets to fill in holes in its sensor network and to check for false alarms.

Additionally, USGS has developed several tools to better locate earthquakes in real time. ShakeAlert, developed with several university partners, is an early warning system for the U.S. West Coast to identify an earthquake within a few seconds of its start. ShakeAlert also calculates the likely intensity of ground shaking and delivers warnings to people and infrastructure within close distance of impact.Its near-real-time maps of ground motion and shaking intensity following significant earthquakes are used by federal, state, and local organizations for response and recovery.

Check out trajectory’s “The Rise of the Digital Humanitarian” to learn how earthquake response has vastly improved over the years thanks to the help of humanitarian mappers.

Photo Credit: Richie Carmichael

Posted in: got geoint?   Tagged in: Disaster Relief, GIS, USGS

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