Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You Can Help Study Earthquakes

The USGS has a program to study earthquakes using information from people who have just been in one. They want you to tell them what happened to you. 

Here is what they have to say about it:

This web site is intended to tap the abundant information available about earthquakes from the people who actually experience them. By taking advantage of the vast numbers of Internet users, we can get a more complete description of what people experienced, the effects of the earthquake, and the extent of damage, than traditional ways of gathering felt information. And best of all, with your help we can do so almost instantly.
By contributing your experience of the earthquake, either immediately afterward, or whenever it is possible for you to do so, you will have made a contribution to the scientific body of information about this earthquake. You will also ensure that your area has been represented in the compilation of the shaking map. This is a two-way street. Not only will you add valuable information on the extent of ground shaking and damage, but in the process we hope you will learn more about how other communities fared and gain a greater understanding of the effects of earthquakes.  

I think this is a great idea and hope that readers will tell the USGS what happened to them. Who knows what all those little bits of information from many people will add up to? You may help make a great discovery that will save lives some day. Now is your chance to be heard and make a contribution to science. 

Here is their site. If you don't like clicking links you can type it into your browser.

The site has lots of information about earthquakes that will make you better informed, and perhaps safer. 

The USGS will use the information that you and other people who experience earthquakes give them to make online maps. The maps are called The Community Internet Intensity Maps, or CIIM. The maps will change every five minutes. They will use zip codes to sort the information they get and average the responses to apply to the CIIM maps.

The USGS uses geocoding to do maps of earthquakes that affect larger areas. They use a company that does the geocoding to use latitude and longitude of the street addresses of people who respond. The information is used by the USGS to do more precise calculations for the larger maps.

Here is the site of the company that does the geocoding. You can use it to get a geocode of your home or another location if you want to.

I really like the idea of these maps. Even if you are not in an earthquake you can look at the maps to see really current information about what is happening to people who are there.

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