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.
If 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 http://www.earthquake.usgs.gov, 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.
“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, http://www.earthquake.usgs.gov, 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!