Google already works in a earthquake detection system that works thanks to the information of thousands of Android phones. As reported by The Verge, this system use the mobile accelerometer to detect if there are vibrations. By comparing it with data from other people nearby, you can send an alert to users that it is an earthquake.

The project collects location and accelerometer data from the mobile. According to Marc Stogaitis, Google’s chief engineer, Android terminals work as small seismographs. The person in charge of the project comments that the mobile is sensitive enough to detect seismic waves P and S.

The accelerometer of your Android mobile turns it into a small seismograph

The system works when the phone is not in use, that is, when we have it on the table and connected to the electrical current. Upon detecting the P wave – the first one sent from the epicenter – Google will compare the data with other mobiles to determine if it is an earthquake. If confirmed, an alert will be sent to people to prepare for the arrival of the S wave.

Its operation will vary according to location of the person and their distance from the epicenter. Those who are closer would not receive the notification in time, although they would help those who are further away to prepare for a possible catastrophe.

Google ensures that its system can determine the magnitude of an earthquake and the location of the epicenter. To protect the privacy of users, the location and accelerometer data are anonymized. Engineers say they don’t need your exact location as an approximation works.

The earthquake detector is a long-term Google project

Earthquake in Mexico City in 2017

Google’s earthquake detector is a long-term project. The initial phase includes users in California, USA, where the technology partnered with the Geological Survey and the Office of Emergency Services. In this case the alerts will be sent using data from existing seismographs.

Later stages will use data from Android phones, though Google will handle it gradually until you are sure that the system is reliable. An example of this is that users will not receive alerts initially. If you feel that it is shaking you will have to open the Google app and you will see the warning in the search results.

He ultimate goal is to build a reliable alert system and detailed in which you can tell people the steps to follow during an earthquake.

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The article Google will help detect earthquakes using the sensors of your mobile was published in Explica.co.