The earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale that struck Nepal on April 25 killed more than 8,000 people, left tens of thousands injured and hundreds of thousands homeless.
When a natural disaster occurs, minutes – and even seconds – can save lives.
That’s what the inventors of a new smartphone app are focussing on: those precious seconds in which data can be collected and users can be alerted in the event of an earthquake.
Called ‘QuakeShare’, it uses GPS technology and a directional gyro system.
“As soon as the smartphone detects a tremor, the information is transmitted to our server in the cloud. The server collects data from other smartphones and then our algorithm analyses all the data collected and tells us whether there is a risk of an earthquake or not. All that takes place in just a few seconds,” says Pierre-Marie Sarant, founder of CynSIS, the company behind the QuakeShare app.
The goal is to create a real-time early warning system, which will help gather information on affected zones to strengthen crisis response and help mobilise relief teams.
Once an earthquake is confirmed, a general alert is sent out.
“On the smartphone screen here, you see the chronometer shows a confirmed tremour that occured two seconds ago. So people know that time is running out and that they must take shelter,” explains Pierre-Marie Sarant.
“The idea is to geo-localise the users, so that in the event of a power cut or if the mobile network goes down, we know where the users were when the earthquake struck.”
One major drawback is its reliance on mobile networks and the internet, which means it may not work in certain remote areas of the world especially in the event of a natural disaster.
Still in development, the QuakeShare app is scheduled for release at the end of the year.