Huffpost Latino Voices

Mexico City Releases A Free Mobile App That Warns Citizens Of Earthquakes

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This week, the Mexico City Center for Emergency Response and Civil Protection service released a free app for Blackberry mobile users that would warn residents of an imminent earthquake.

According to the Associated Press, the capital city’s Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said that “even a few seconds warning will be valuable in helping people take action to protect their lives.”

Last month, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake shook southern Mexico and footage of the early earthquake warning system shows a successful evacuation of the Mexican Senate.

The geography of the Mexican capital city allows seismological centers on the coast to detect tremors seconds before the quake hits inland, making Mexico among only a handful of countries to implement an early earthquake warning system.

We asked our AOL Latino Senior Editor in Mexico City, Alberto Sanchez Montiel to test the app on his Blackberry, and he had this to say:

The Blackberry app connects directly to the seismic alarm system on the coast of Guerrero and
it can be downloaded from the GDF page or App World for free. It’s very easy to install, like any other app, and it doesn’t need additional plugins.

Here are some of the disadvantages:
  • It can only be tested when the seismic alarm is activated (a real event)
  • For now, it is only available for Blackberry users, although it will eventually be developed for Android and Iphones
  • The alarm is only connected to seismic stations in the area of Guerrero, so if a quake is coming from Michoaca, for example, it won’t ring.
  • The alarm will only trigger for quakes with a magnitude of 5.0 or higher
  • The Blackberry system is very unstable at times (like in recent weeks), so without the platform, the alarm is unlikely to work.
I don’t think there’s much to say. People complain that the seismic alarm is erratic at best, or that it doesn’t ring, and that this might happen with the Blackberry alarm, but we hope that that’s not the case.

Translated from Spanish to English

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