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2016 SCEC Undergraduate Studies in Earthquake Information Technology (USEIT): Documentary and Virtual Reality Game

Geneva I. Burkhardt, Aadit R. Doshi, Emily R. Olmos, Emma L. Huibregtse, Drew P. Welch, Mark A. Romano, Jason Ballmann, Jozi K. Pearson, & Mark L. Benthien

Published August 4, 2016, SCEC Contribution #6488, 2016 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #334

As a liaison between scientists and the public, the Media Team translates complex concepts into accessible information. Its documentary explains concepts which fellow interns have researched and developed, illustrates the program’s impact on interns, describes the collaboration of interns amongst themselves and with mentors, and conveys how USEIT research applies to safety. The 2016 Grand Challenge, which involves earthquake forecasting, will provide a better understanding of risk and hazard probability in seismic events. The interns’ answer to the Grand Challenge has the potential to alert the public to the probability and danger of earthquakes, but only if the research is well communicated. The documentary will also be used to encourage funding. This is essential to the continuation of the USEIT program and the extension of earthquake research. To emphasize USEIT’s value, the Media Team conducted interviews. Here, interns explained the program’s impact on their careers, learning paths, and lives. In addition to a documentary, the Media Team focused on applying interactive media to earthquake science. The game design aspect of the team teaches earthquake safety through immersive technology. A major goal of earthquake science is to inform the public on what they should do during an earthquake. In some cases, the suddenness of the event causes even the most experienced people to forget the correct procedure. A Virtual Reality game offers a fun, risk-free environment for the public to train and learn what to do during an earthquake. The game balances realism and game design liberty to create an optimal environment for players to maximize the learning experience. Players will be concerned about glassware, debris, and furniture that could potentially hurt them. The game trains the player in three common scenarios: a home, a school, and an office. The player will then play the game to practice thinking quickly in unfamiliar scenarios and to find a safe location to take cover for the duration of the earthquake. Each level in Play mode is randomly generated, providing the player with infinite scenarios to practice. The game group also experimented with Augmented Reality to illustrate faults and earthquake events through an app for phones or tablets. The Media Team is essential to USEIT because without communication, science is difficult to apply to other fields, nor can the importance of USEIT be understood by the public.

Key Words
Media, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, USEIT, interns

Burkhardt, G. I., Doshi, A. R., Olmos, E. R., Huibregtse, E. L., Welch, D. P., Romano, M. A., Ballmann, J., Pearson, J. K., & Benthien, M. L. (2016, 08). 2016 SCEC Undergraduate Studies in Earthquake Information Technology (USEIT): Documentary and Virtual Reality Game. Poster Presentation at 2016 SCEC Annual Meeting.

Related Projects & Working Groups
Communication, Education, and Outreach (CEO)