Sydney, Australia: Geosciences Australia suggested that Twitter’s speed can enable agencies to detect earthquakes faster than traditional seismometer networks. At the CeBIT conference in Sydney, the agency’s Geospatial and Earth Monitoring Division chief, Andrew Barnicoat, said the use of Twitter in the US had shown the potential of the medium to detect such natural disasters.
“The US Geological Survey (USGS) is starting to use social media as a sensor network and runs a Twitter earthquake detector,” he said. “It is effectively a crowd-to-agency system and the tweeted reports of having felt an earthquake and a social epicentre is defined by this data.
According to the USGS, its Twitter Earthquake Detector gathers real-time, earthquake-related messages from the social networking site Twitter and applies place, time, and keyword filtering to gather geolocated accounts of shaking.
The USGS said that using social media people local to an event are able to publish information via these technologies within seconds of their occurrence. In contrast, depending on the location of the earthquake, scientific alerts can take between two to 20 minutes.