Los Angeles Leverages Cloud For Detecting Earthquakes

An app that Los Angeles recently released indicates that cloud is a blank canvas that state and local governments can use to provide almost any public service.

Situated along multiple fault lines, Los Angeles has long suffered from earthquakes that can cost lives and damage property. A new cloud-based app called ShakeAlertLA that Los Angeles’ Information Technology Agency (ITA) released in 2019, alerts users when earthquakes of certain intensities happen. The goal is to help people prepare for serious earthquake tremors before they occur.

ShakeAlertLA identifies any seismic activity before calculating how powerful the subsequent earthquake will be. Next, the app warns people with an alert so that they can prepare before shaking starts. Additionally, the tool can help users find aid after earthquakes or review the details of recent ones.

When it was released, ShakeAlertLA warned users about earthquakes with a seismic activity of 5.0 or higher on the roughly 9-point Richter scale. Earthquakes with a magnitude between 5.0 and 6.0 are generally considered moderate.

Los Angeles has since upgraded ShakeAlertLA to alert people of earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.5 or higher. The city tweaked the app after feedback from users who wanted information about lower-level earthquakes. By modifying ShakeAlertLA to meet more needs, Los Angeles improved the user experience. The resulting app could make the difference between life and death for Los Angeles’ approximately 4 million residents.

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, “How State & Local Gov Tech Will Look in 2020 & Beyond.” Download the full guide here.

Photo credit: Jack Finnigan on Unsplash

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