In a significant move aimed at enhancing earthquake preparedness and safety, Google has launched its Android Earthquake Alerts System in India. This groundbreaking technology leverages the sensors in Android smartphones, such as the accelerometer, to detect seismic activity and issue early warnings. Developed in consultation with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the National Seismology Center (NSC), this system is set to become an invaluable tool for safeguarding lives and property in earthquake-prone regions.
How the Android Earthquake Alerts System Works
Google’s Android Earthquake Alerts System is an innovative approach to earthquake detection and early warning. It harnesses the power of millions of Android smartphones to function as miniature earthquake detectors. Here’s how it operates:
Accelerometer as a Seismograph: When your Android phone is stationary and charging, it utilizes its accelerometer to detect the initial signs of an earthquake. This sensor measures vibrations and movements.
Collaborative Detection: If multiple smartphones detect earthquake-like shaking simultaneously, Google’s server can discern that an earthquake is occurring, determining its location and magnitude.
Alert Dissemination: Following the detection, Google’s server sends alerts to nearby smartphones. Depending on the earthquake’s magnitude, two types of alerts are issued:
- ‘Be Aware Alert’: Sent to users experiencing MMI (Modified Mercalli Intensity) 3 & 4 shaking during an earthquake of 4.5 or greater magnitude.
- ‘Take Action Alert’: Sent to users experiencing MMI 5+ shaking during an earthquake of 4.5 or greater magnitude.
Alert Features: For stronger earthquakes, alerts override the phone’s Do Not Disturb settings, activate the screen, and emit a loud sound. The alerts also provide safety recommendations, such as taking cover under a table.
Speedy Alert Delivery: Google emphasizes that internet signals travel faster than earthquake shaking through the ground, ensuring that alerts often reach phones several seconds before severe shaking occurs.
Beyond Earthquake Alerts
Google’s collaboration with the NDMA goes beyond earthquake alerts. The company is committed to providing users with valuable information about natural disasters, including floods and storms, through Google Search and Maps. Users can easily access this information by searching for terms like “Earthquake near me” on Google.
How to Activate Android Earthquake Alerts
To benefit from the Android Earthquake Alerts System, Android users in India need to meet the following requirements:
- Android 5 or higher.
- An active internet connection.
- Location settings turned on.
Here’s how to activate earthquake alerts:
- Go to the Settings on your Android phone.
- Tap “Safety & emergency” and then select “Earthquake alerts.” If you don’t find “Safety & emergency,” navigate to “Location” and then “Advanced,” followed by “Earthquake alerts.”
- Toggle the “Earthquake alerts” option to turn it on or off.
Google ensures their alerts are user-friendly, presented in Indian languages supported by Android, and provide essential information about local earthquakes and safety measures through Google Search.
Google’s Android Earthquake Alerts System represents a significant step forward in disaster preparedness and early warning capabilities in India. By utilizing the widespread presence of Android smartphones, this technology can provide critical information to users, potentially saving lives in the event of an earthquake. With its collaborative approach and emphasis on safety, Google’s initiative serves as a commendable example of how technology can be harnessed for the greater good, particularly in regions prone to natural disasters.