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Twitter Based "Ted" System Warns of Earthquakes Earlier 64

hypnosec writes "A Twitter-based system managed to detect the earthquake off the Philippines before any other advanced spotting systems being used by Seismologists. The U.S. Geological Survey uses the micro-blogging site to quickly gather information about earthquakes around the globe through the use of a system — Twitter Earthquake Detection (TED) — which beat out USGS's own sensors on Friday when it came to detecting a 7.6 magnitude earthquake off the Philippine coast. The TED system gathers earthquake related messages (Tweets) in real time from Twitter. The system takes into consideration various parameters like place, time, keywords, and photographs of affected places where tremors have been detected. Online information posted by people — Tweets, in this case — can be picked up faster by researchers, compared to scientific alerts that may take up to 20 minutes."
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Twitter Based "Ted" System Warns of Earthquakes Earlier

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  • by Meshach ( 578918 ) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @06:22PM (#41208975)
    Google Trends [] looks at when the number of people searching for a specific term spikes and the correlation with major news. Ted is not a new idea.
  • by Y-Crate ( 540566 ) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @07:06PM (#41209245)

    It will only report quakes that are already over. News reports, online reporting "Did You Feel It?" pages, etc already do a pretty good job of telling seismologists that something just happened.

    Valuable earthquake detection would be detecting the P-Wave from a quake in progress, and automatically broadcasting a SAME Code [], combined with some kind of equivilent forcibly pushed to every cell phone connected to a tower. Japan has something like this already. [] California is kinda, sorta working on it, but I'm pretty sure it's grossly underfunded and not really a priority.

    Earthquake models suggest a quake on the northern or southern reaches of the San Andreas fault would reach Los Angeles in about 40 seconds. That's actually a huge chunk of time.

    Let's assume:

    - 20 seconds to detect a quake / automatically crosscheck with multiple sensors and transmit a warning to a predefined area.

    - 5 to 10 seconds for devices to receive, decode and go into alert mode. Weather radios are always listening for SAME transmissions and can decode more or less instantly (assuming the user has programmed in their location). Cell networks could probably get the data there in the time it takes for a regular text message to arrive.

    - That gives you 10 to 15 seconds to pull your car over, stop doing delicate surgery, stop fixing your roof, etc and find something to crawl under. It also gives you time to trigger automated fail safes. Gas valves can be set to close, emergency generators can be spun-up, fire pumps can activate, elevators can go to their recall floors and hold their doors open, while fire station doors can roll-up on their own and lock in place.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall