MyShake Tutorial

A great way to get started with MyShake is to walk through this tutorial. Here you will get detailed information about the menu options and how the app works.

Why am I not getting earthquake warnings?

At this time, MyShake does not issue early warning alerts. We need more global data to refine the algorithms and more testing to ensure accuracy before we can begin issuing public alerts. In version 2.0, however, we will provide earthquake notifications for recent events. Not in advance of shaking, but as soon as information is available. Your participation is crucial to ensure that we can provide alerts as soon as possible.

What do the changing status messages mean?

"Waiting for phone to steady" - waiting for the phone's sensors to reach a quiescent (steady) state. This is set to a long period of time at the moment (~30 min), so your screen will likely turn off before the phone changes from this state.
"Waiting for trigger" - the phone is in a steady state, waiting for MyShake to detect an earthquake.
"Streaming" - Storing triggered waveform data in the phone, which will later be sent to the MyShake waveform server. Waveform data will be sent only when the phone is connected to both WiFi and power. By the time you see this message, a trigger message has already been sent to our servers.

What does the MyShake app do with old waveform data on my phone?

MyShake saves the waveform data for up to 72 hours. If the phone is not connected to WiFi and power within that time, the waveform data in the phone will not be sent to the MyShake server, and will be overwritten.

What are the 'past' earthquakes? Why is my favorite earthquake missing from the list?

The 'past' earthquakes are notable worldwide earthquakes, plus many others in the State of California where the MyShake project is based, that we have good information on, or that are notable for seismology. If you have a suggestion for another unique or notable earthquake that should be considered for inclusion, send us an email. Future versions will have more past earthquakes.

What do the colors mean on the 'past' earthquakes map?

The colored circles on the map show recent earthquakes. They are sized with larger circles representing larger events. The red circles are for earthquakes that have happened in the past hour, yellow for the past day, and blue for the past week.

How many recordings (data sets) are needed to detect whether received data fits an earthquake shake pattern?

We actually don't need the waveform data to detect the earthquake; all we need is the trigger information which is uploaded from the phone in real-time and contains the phone's location, trigger time, and trigger parameters. The waveforms will be used for scientific analysis to learn more about earthquake rupture processes.

How long does it take to reach the steady state?

Currently MyShake takes 30 minutes to reach a steady state. We may change this time based on our tests in the future.

Will I know if my phone recorded an earthquake?

We do not associate your phone information with you as a person, to preserve your privacy, and as a result, we cannot send you unique waveform information. We do post interesting waveforms to our twitter feed (@MyShakeApp).

What is the battery consumption?

MyShake does use more power than an average application - we are working to reduce battery use further. In version 2.0, we are improving battery life by providing a battery saving mode (BSM) option. In BSM, the app only runs in the background whenever the phone is on. This reduces the drain rate, but also limits the amount of time the sensor is active and monitoring earthquakes. Very old batteries tend to drain quickly, so BSM may be useful for those phones. When BSM is off, the app runs in the foreground and constantly monitors the sensors for earthquakes. You will notice a persistent icon on the top dock. Our app suspends monitoring once the battery reaches 50%, so it may drain more quickly than usual for the first part of the day, but should stabilize. We are working on improvements to this issue, but please notify us if you see unusual behavior.

How was the battery use calculated? What other background services were active that could affect the power levels measured?

We compared the battery usage on a suite of test phones with/without running the MyShake app, and recorded the time and percentage of the battery usage. Some testing phones were bare bones units with only MyShake running, but others were personal phones where maps, web browsers and music services were run at the same time.

What is needed for the MyShake system to start sending alerts?

More data analysis of sensor data from phones that recorded an earthquake and a dense amount of phones near the epicenter. The alert mode is being tested now on the back end and is showing good results in areas with high density of phones.

Will walking or jumping be recorded as an earthquake?

No, the goal of our algorithm is to weed these human activities out.

How good are the sensors in phones?

Some phones have better sensors than others. However, sensors continue to get more and more sensitive with newer smart phones. Our testing has shown that most modern phones in use today can record earthquakes down to magnitude 5 within 10 km of the epicenter.

Where can I find out more about the science behind this project?

MyShake: A smartphone seismic network for earthquake early warning and beyond.

Should Location Services be turned on?

Yes, GPS and/or Power Saving must be turned on or your sensor data will be unuseable for locating and detecting earthquakes.

Will the app work if I do not have a data plan?

MyShake will still record earthquake information and send the trigger information and waveforms over WiFi as long as that connection is turned on.

Is the MyShake project global?

Yes, we have users from all over the world. Even in places where no earthquake typically occur, MyShake users can contribute both for training purposes and to confirm that the algorithms are working correctly.

Where is the iPhone version?

Currently MyShake is only available for Android devices. However, an iPhone version is in the works!

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