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Citizen Seismology – Gisborne Herald

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Posted on February 19, 2021 11:28 AM

General input is required in the earthquake early warning system.

Scientists want to know if a low-cost, community-based earthquake early warning system is feasible here.

This project, jointly funded by the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and Massey University, enabled a group of scientists, led by the Joint Center for Disaster Research at Massey University, to obtain low-cost seismometers and work with communities to see if they would be willing to participate in A research project aimed at experimenting with a network of earthquake early warning sensors.

“There is no earthquake early warning system in New Zealand,” said chief researcher Raj Prasana of Massey University.

“In this research project we want to explore the feasibility of developing an earthquake early warning system using low-cost internet-based seismometers.

The sensors will be installed in community-owned buildings to generate appropriate warning solutions for community members.

Ideally, the sensors hosted by citizen seismologists will be configured as a network of sensors to test various detection algorithms.

The data collected will help us explore the feasibility of generating alerts with these low-cost sensors. The warning may not exceed 10 seconds, but it will give people time to take the safety measures “land, cover and wait”.

The work is based on other research at EQC conducted by Dr Julia Baker of the Joint Center for Disaster Research.

Dr. Baker discovered last year that there is a strong interest among New Zealand residents, companies and agencies, in the early warning system.

Dr Prasana said New Zealand may not have the financial resources for some other countries, such as Japan, to replicate modern early warning systems.

“This is why we have been looking at low-cost options that complement the existing Geonet seismic sensor network that currently provides vital information immediately after an earthquake.”

His team has been testing off-the-shelf low-cost sensors in a lab environment and hopes to begin installing 20 to 25 of the sensors mid-year for field trials.

Once installed, the sensors will be connected as part of an internet-based smart sensor network.

If a major earthquake destroys a portion of the communications infrastructure, the sensor network will automatically adapt and find ways to reconnect with the remaining operational sensors if power can still be accessed.

Workshops, such as the one planned in Gisborne on February 25 and elsewhere in New Zealand, were essential to knowing what the community wanted and understanding the pros and cons of such a system used by the public.

For example, do people want a warning for every earthquake or just a big earthquake?

“We also want their feedback on how much community members would be willing to spend on a sensor, and whether people would be willing to have a device in their homes.

These are all really important questions that need some end-user perspectives.

“At the end of this study, we expect to have a more accurate understanding of people’s ideas about being part of an earthquake early warning system that community members contribute.”

The Gisborne Public Workshop takes place on Thursday, February 25, from 6 pm-8pm at the Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club.

Those interested in attending the two-hour interactive workshop can register their attendance at [email protected]

A light dinner will be served and each participant will receive a $ 40 supermarket voucher.

Vibration Sensing: Massey University researcher Dr Raj Prasana is carrying one of the low-cost seismic sensors that his project team has tested as part of a project exploring the feasibility of developing a community earthquake early warning system. The audience is encouraged to participate. Photo supplied

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