Yesterday, The Economist published a story online about a new BlackBerry app just launched in Mexico City that gives citizens advance warning of earthquakes, usually providing people a minute or more to seek shelter. Mexico City experiences earthquakes throughout the year, most of which originate on the countries Western coastline. A version of this system recently alerted a session of Mexico’s Senate of impending tremors, giving them time to evacuate the building.
“The problem is that most people are not within range of one of the early-warning loudspeakers, meaning they are denied this head start. Of course, by no means everyone has a BlackBerry either. But if this technology can be extended to other types of mobile phone, Mexico City will be much better prepared for the next big earthquake—and there is no doubt that one day it will come.”
This system, while not as extensive or sophisticated, is similar the the mobile phone feature of Japan’s Earthquake Early Warning System. Just another example of the rise of mobile alerting as the US is preparing to deploy it’s own nationwide version, the Commercial Mobile Alert Service, this Saturday.