How can Seismology benefit from Citizen Seismology?
École Normale Supérieure
Smartphones have invaded all areas of our life and offer a huge potential for communicating risk in real time to affected citizens, crowdsource key observations for improved situation awareness, raise public awareness and contribute to global risk reduction at little cost. Despite this significant potential, there are currently few operational uses of social media in the management of emergency situations. We will first present LastQuake, a multichannel rapid information system comprising websites, a Twitter and Telegram quakebot, and a smartphone app for global earthquake eyewitnesses. It aims at offering timely, appropriate information in regions where an earthquake is felt and at collecting high numbers of eyewitnesses’ direct and indirect observations about the degree of shaking being felt and possible damage incurred. LastQuake focuses on felt earthquakes which are automatically detected through the online reaction of eyewitnesses they generate on Twitter, on the traffic of EMSC websites and on its LastQuake app. The combined analysis of these “crowdsourced detections”, which are typically within 20 to 90s of earthquake occurrence and seismic data significantly improve time performances of seismic networks. Beyond its technical performances, we will illustrate on recent earthquakes the importance of visual communication and of leveraging pre-existing user behavior to improve interaction with public, develop trust, raise awareness and collect key information (felt reports, geo-located pics and videos) to reduce intrinsic uncertainties of rapid earthquake impact assessment. Finally, we will outline the potential of citizen sensors (e.g. RaspberryShake) and the joint work with the University of Bergamo which operates EarthquakeNetwork, an app detecting any onset of motion on the smartphone internal sensor to explore the possibility of crowdsourced earthquake early warning system.