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This Is How Google Maps Displays Regions Hit by Earthquakes

Google Maps is the world’s leading navigation solution, coming in super-handy whenever you are trying to get information on how to go from point A to point B. At the same time, it’s also a valuable resource for tons of other data.
Google Maps earthquake data 1 photo
For example, Google Maps can now highlight the areas hit by an earthquake, and the feature was activated earlier this week for European users after the violent shake in Croatia.

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake was recorded 2 miles (3.2 km) from Petrinja, Croatia, and Google Maps has quickly been updated to show the impacted area.

Worth knowing, however, is Google Maps only shows the region with a high magnitude; the earthquake has also been felt in a series of other countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, and Austria.

But how does the whole thing work? It’s all powered by your Android phones, whose sensors collect data and send it to Google in record time.

All smartphones come with tiny accelerometers that can sense signals that indicate an earthquake might be happening. If the phone detects something that it thinks may be an earthquake, it sends a signal to our earthquake detection server, along with a coarse location of where the shaking occurred. The server then combines information from many phones to figure out if an earthquake is happening. We’re essentially racing the speed of light (which is roughly the speed at which signals from a phone travel) against the speed of an earthquake,” Google explained earlier this year.

Google already has ambitious plans to make this feature a lot more useful. In addition to showing the impacted area on the map, it’s also working with authorities in the United States to issue earthquake alerts on phones. This capability is currently live in California, and Google says next year it would go live for more users in the States.


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