Getting Started

MyShake is a citizen science project aimed at creating a global seismic network. This tutorial will guide you through the setup options and explain the features of the app. To learn more about our project, see the About section and visit our website at myshake.berkeley.edu, or on twitter @MyShakeApp.

Getting Started Screenshot


A hamburger menu on the left hand side provides for easy navigation throughout the app. Menu items will take you to maps of recent and past earthquakes, earthquake safety tips, active sensor readings, a news feed, and FAQ. It will also bring you to a page about us and allow you to access the settings. This tutorial will walk through each menu item in turn.

But first, we will describe what happens if you get an earthquake notification.

Menu Screenshot

Earthquake Alerts

If you have chosen to receive earthquake notifications in your setting (see later in this tutorial), you may receive earthquake push notifications, which will appear as shown here as a pop-up. The pop-up will close after a few seconds, but the icon will remain in your notification panel until you clear it.

If you click on the notification, it will take you to the recent earthquakes page, where you can click to get more information about the earthquake. At this point, all alerts come from the USGS global database. We hope to add new databases in the future. These are not early warning alerts, just notifications of recent events. It is, however, being used to test the communication method for future early warning alerts.

Earthquake Alerts Screenshot

Recent Earthquakes

This map displays all of the M 2.5 or greater earthquakes that appear in the USGS global catalog within the last seven days. The map zooms by default to your location (provided that GPS is enabled). The circles are sized based on magnitude. Red circles are events that have happened in the past hour, yellow in the past day, and blue circles show events that are over a day old.

You can pan and zoom the map to reach other areas of the globe and learn about earthquakes in your area and abroad.

Recent Earthquakes Screenshot

Recent EQ Cont'd

Clicking one of the events pops up a flag that provides more information about the earthquake such as the name, magnitude, and expected shaking intensity that you should have felt at your location for that event. Clicking on the flag again will take you to the USGS webpage for the event, where you can find much more information.

As you interact with the page, you might note that the green line at the bottom shows activity. That is a live feed from the sensor, so you can see how it behaves.

Recent Earthquakes Continued Screenshot

Historical Earthquakes

The ‘Past’ tab will take you to a map showing selected historical earthquakes globally. There is quite a concentration of earthquakes on the West Coast of the United States, because that is where our lab is and we have very detailed information to add to the database.

Clicking on one of the red circles will pop-up a flag with the name of the earthquake, the magnitude, and the estimated amount of shaking that earthquake would have produced at your location.

Historical Earthquakes Screenshot

Intensity Estimates

Clicking on the pop-up flag on the past earthquakes map takes you to a database entry with more information. Here you will find sample videos of what the shaking intensity level at your location was estimated to be for that event. You will also see historical earthquake photos (when available) and more detailed information about the event.

Two secondary buttons: More About Intensity and Get Quake Ready provide for further exploration of these topics.

Intensity Estimates Screenshot


Drop, cover, and hold on is the most important thing to remember in terms of earthquake safety. This section has other tips on how to prepare, survive, and recover after a large damaging event. Near the bottom of the page are links to preparedness webpages that will help you explore further.

At the top of this image, you will notice another push notification related to MyShake News. You can choose in your settings whether you would like to receive these alerts to keep up to date on this citizen science project. More on that later.

Safety Screenshot


MyShake uses the accelerometer in your phone to detect earthquakes. The sensor reads phone accelerations in three dimensions and all are displayed in real-time on this tab. You can play around and see what sorts of motions you can create. The neural network in the app will know that it is you, and not an earthquake.

Sensor Screenshot

MyShake News

Whether you get to this page through a push notification, or just navigate here on your own, the news feed is where you can keep up to date with the project. Here we link information about relevant news, waveforms that our users have recorded, and general updates for the app.

Please feel free to email us at info.seismo.berkeley.edu with comments, questions, or ideas for things that you would like to see covered in the news feed.

MyShake News Screenshot

Frequently Asked Questions

Our FAQ page provides an in-depth look at some of the features of the MyShake app. It includes information on how your waveforms are handled, battery usage, and settings. Much of this information is covered in this tutorial.

Frequently Asked Questions Screenshot


The newest feature for version 2.0 of MyShake is custom settings. Here you can toggle news feed notifications on or off, choose to receive the new earthquake notification feed, and enable or disable battery saving mode.

Enabling the news feed will allow you to receive push notifications every time there is a new entry. A MyShake icon with a small ‘notebook’ image in the lower corner, will appear in your notifications tray when a message is received.

Settings Screenshot

Earthquake Notification

If you choose to enable earthquake notifications, there are a few more choices you can make to customize the alerts you receive. You can first set the maximum distance from your location that you would like alerts delivered. This can be 50, 100, 200km, or all alerts world wide.

Earthquake Notification Screenshot

Earthquake Notification Cont’d

You can also choose the minimum magnitude for the alerts at 3, 4, 5, or 6. Alerts would have to satisfy both the distance and magnitude requirements in order for an alert to be sent your way.

Earthquake Notification Continued Screenshot

Battery Saving Mode

The last new feature is battery saving mode. MyShake by default monitors the sensors constantly in the foreground of the app, as long as the battery is either above 50% or plugged into power. This provides the most monitoring capabilities for the app. In this new version 2.0, you will notice that the MyShake icon appears in the notification tray to signify that it is running.

Some users with older models of phone have experienced above normal battery demands with MyShake. In order to address this issue, we have provided a battery saving mode. This mode will suspend earthquake detection while the app runs in the background. This will reduce the app’s ability to record earthquakes. So we suggest that this setting be enabled only when necessary.

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Thank you for being a MyShake citizen scientist.

Battery Saving Mode Screenshot
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