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Earthquake Notification Service (ENS): Present Capabilities and Next-Generation Product Ideas

Clara Yoon, Stan Schwarz, & Valerie Thomas

Published August 15, 2019, SCEC Contribution #9826, 2019 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #304 (PDF)

Poster Image: 
The USGS is planning to develop the next-generation Earthquake Notification Service (ENS). ENS, available at https://earthquake.usgs.gov/ens/, is a free USGS product that provides accurate, reliable, timely, 24/7 earthquake information to over 400,000 users worldwide. We seek feedback from users about new ideas and design decisions that they want to see in the future ENS product.

ENS currently sends email and/or text notifications with real-time earthquake information: location, origin time, magnitude, nearby points of interest, and a link to the USGS event webpage.

Users can customize their ENS profiles to receive earthquake notifications only for particular regions, above certain magnitudes, or during certain times. Users can also turn notifications on or off during regular or specific time intervals, and turn off notifications for aftershocks of a major earthquake.

ENS sent ~350,000 notifications for the 2019 July 5 M7.1 Ridgecrest earthquake within an hour of the origin time, which led to ~33,000 visits to the USGS event webpage for this earthquake.

Since the inception of ENS in 2006 (Wald et al., 2008), there have been many technological advances with potential to improve how users might receive real-time earthquake notifications.

Some possibilities to explore for the next generation of ENS:
- Notification medium (push, email, text)
- Platforms (mobile, laptop, desktop)
- Notification content (should shaking intensity be added?)
- Integration with other USGS earthquake products (ShakeMap, Did You Feel It, ShakeAlert)
- Integration with social media (Twitter, Facebook)
- User categories (Scientist/Network Operator, Emergency/First Responder, Public)
- Customization options
- Ease of use, speed, reliability

We also seek user feedback on these questions:
- What does ENS do well?
- How can ENS be improved?
- Would you prefer a lean, focused ENS with fewer configurable settings, or a fully customizable ENS with many user options?
- How do you prefer to receive real-time earthquake information?
- Where did you first go for information about the Ridgecrest earthquakes?

Key Words
notification, alert, email, text, real-time, mobile, product development

Yoon, C., Schwarz, S., & Thomas, V. (2019, 08). Earthquake Notification Service (ENS): Present Capabilities and Next-Generation Product Ideas. Poster Presentation at 2019 SCEC Annual Meeting.

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