Real Time software for distribution of Earthquake and Tsunami alerts via the Internet, integrated with an interactive Geographical Information System

ISTI is collaborating with the California Integrated Seismic Network (CISN, cisn.org) to develop a next-generation earthquake notification system that will alert users, in near real-time, of seismic data as well as vital earthquake hazard information following a significant event. Primary users will include emergency operations centers, utility companies and media outlets. The QuakeWatch server and client are written entirely in Java, allowing them to run on all major operating systems and hardware. The messaging system uses a leading open-source version of the industry-standard Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA). The display client features an easy-to-use graphical interface that shows detailed event information in near-real-time, allows users to overlay their own detailed map layers, and provides direct access to earthquake-event products (such as ShakeMaps, see cisn.org).

The QuakeWatch system has been designed to address the technical demands of disseminating alert information to many users with a minimum of delay. Earthquake event notifications are “pushed” out to registered users as they are generated, minimizing network traffic and the time between event recognition and user notification.

The CISN is a joint project initiated by The California Geological Survey, Caltech Seismological Laboratory, Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, the US Geological Survey (Menlo Park and Pasadena), along with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. In addition, support comes from Pacific Gas and Electric, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, the California Department of Water Resources, UC Santa Barbara, US San Diego and University of Nevada, Reno.

Check out the lives this software saved in this NOAA reenactment video of a 2009 Tsunami near Pago pago.

The EIDS or QWIDS system is open source and can be downloaded for use by anyone. It is part of the Product Distribution Layer at the USGS and still in use by ISTI for numerous products.