Bolivian software reports on earthquakes in real time

Alejandra Pau reports for Pagina Siete:

Bolivian software reports on earthquakes in real time

Four students of the career of the UMSA computing technology developed an application for mobile phones, that gives information on earthquakes around the world.

2013-01-19 09.39.06 pmIf there is something that puts in a state of emergency to the societies of the world, are earthquakes or earthquake. Alertame is a software developed by students of the Informatics career at La Paz which gives information about the earthquakes around the world in real time.

Four students today enrolled in the final year of the career of Informatics of the UMSA, developed in 2012 a so-called software Alertame as part of the field systems in real time.

The application was developed from the RRS – a format to tell or share content on the web – an American page.

The application for mobile phones is currently available free of charge for mobile phones that have the Windows Phone operating system.

This software, which is located in the virtual marketplace for Windows, requires a megabyte of storage and to download takes about 30 seconds.

“The objective was to develop a system that is at the service of society. Alertame is updated every 15 minutes and gives the characteristics of the earthquakes that occur within that time. These data are saved together with a record of the telluric phenomena occurring in the last 30 days”, says one of the creators of the application, Jorge Cupi.

The information that is updated every quarter hour is taken for free from the website, which belongs to the geology unit of the Government service of United States.

The work of the students focused to present that information in a more attractive way, simple and friendly to users of mobile phones.

The application is addressed to the ordinary citizen who does not have expertise in the matter, but who have family or ties of any kind with countries that present seismic activity constant, such as Chile, Mexico or Japan. But it is also aimed at information professionals related to geology, seismology, or hydrocarbons.

Information Alertame may be shared via SMS, e-mail and social networks.

The coordinates

“Within the application, the user can see the exact time and location of the seismic movement. In addition to the coordinates, which sometimes are difficult to understand, you have a map to locate the area anywhere on the planet. And, of course, includes the intensity on the Richter scale,”explains Arnold Paye, another Member of the computer equipment.

The application allows access to information on the depth and magnitude of the seismic movement, in addition to external links for more information.

“Also included is the last hour of the update application, something that will serve to know how recent is the information”, says Silvia Alvarado of the team that created the application.

The project will not end there. “We are working on a version of Alertame, special for computers”, adds Raquel Condori.

A source of support

The analyst of the San Calixto Observatory, Teddy Griffith, points out that the website that served for the creation of Alertame,, is a source of support for this institution.

“On the page there is information around the world and helps us to retrieve locations (…). Therein magnitudes are handled from 2.5 on the scale of Richter in United States. In adjacent areas and the rest of the world, occurs from 4.5 “, explains.

For the PhD in computer science and Professor of systems in real time of the UMSA, Miguel Angel Villarroel, Alertame was a challenge for his students.

“In 2012, there were very few computer science students working on mobile applications. They faced this problem and made more useful information from this website, bringing it closer to the population in general,”he says.

Villarroel explains that the students almost always focus on fields such as bank records, for example, and believes that it is comforting to know that technology in favor of society can be humanized.

“They used public data on earthquakes registered throughout the world. They have investigated such information protocols and have programmed it into this application, since there is not a database of this kind in Bolivia”, he adds.

I welcome Jorge Cupi, Arnold Paye, Silvia Alvarado, Raquel Condori for Alertame to The Hall of Bolivian Fame!

3 responses to “Bolivian software reports on earthquakes in real time

  1. “Bolivian software downloads and visualizes an earthquake usgs’ earthquake database every once in a while”

  2. I think this software is not a newness and useful. I mean there are some very atractive applications, developed by seismological agencies, for presenting the epicentral information of the last earthquakes occurred around the world within ~10 or 20 minutes after those have occurred. In addition, those seismic applications use their own information to report earthquake parameters. Those seismic agencies have seismic waveforms, recorded by seismographs, in real time and they process them as soon as they arrive to the data center. The waveform processing task is performed through computational systems, and whenever an earthquake occurs and the seismic waves -generated by the earthquakes from magnitude 4.5- reach the seismographs (let’s say 20 of this seismic sensors) the computational system converges in a solution. That is the reason it takes 20 minutes or less to report an earthquake. Because a computational system is not perfect, a seismologist review the information and improves the earthquake parameter (e.g. hypocenter, magnitude, etc)
    The app that those guys are developing is neither a good reseach nor an alerting system. This must be considered just a raw copy of apps developed for serious seismologist wich strong skills in computational system. Please check the next link to see an app that is available in appstore and android market:
    The app called eqinfo connects to many seismic agencies, however, this app doesn’t connect to a bolivian seismological agency that reports eathquake information in real time with an alerting character.
    Please I would ask those guy to contact to Observatorio San Calixto in order to demand realtime information to be used in their app, with an alerting purpose.
    finally, I need to tell you, dear readers, that an alerting system consists of a group of seismic sensor deployed around a specific seismogenic zone -where it is expected to occur an important earthquake- which stream their information through INTERNET and are recieved in a data center. After arriving to data center, that information is analyzed by a computational system and this can locate an earthquake with the information of 8 seismic stations. If the data coming from seismic station, located very close to a potential seismic fault, the location processing could take around 1:30 to 2:00 minutes. Depending of the epicentral distance to an important city, it would be possible to emmit an alert.
    Mexico has an alerting system in pacific cost of Guerrero. There they have a lot of accelerometers and whenever an earthquake occurs they can measure the energy released by this seismic event and they trigger an alert to the Mexico City, which is located to ~400 km from Guerrero. So, people in México city have around 1 minute to safety.

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