[iPhone] Get earthquake alerts with Earthquakes! app

It’s pretty easy to guess what Earthquakes! –Earthquake Map and Alerts offers to its users–the service is right there in the name of the app. In addition to boasting a world map with color-coded icons to denote recent quake activity around the globe, you can also get customized alerts regarding quake activity near you.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

Earthquakes! is a helpful tool for tracking earthquake activity all around the world. Custom alerts warn users about earthquakes that have just occurred. It is also an interesting tool for science-minded people who are interested in natural disasters, seismology, or current events from around the globe. The app also provides information about what causes quakes and what people should expect if a quake occurs in their area.

Pros

  • Attractive world map that is easy to read (in sections) at a glance, thanks to red-yellow-green color codes for each event
  • Fully customizable alerts allow users to get notifications about quakes based on magnitude and distance from their current location
  • Map also provides locations of local fire stations and hospitals in the event of a major quake
  • List view lets users scroll through all quakes worldwide in the past 24 hours
  • Outstanding list of earthquake prep and survival tips

Cons

  • World map is somewhat limited in terms of navigation. If you want to look at Japan while currently looking at Alaska, you have to scroll all the way across the Atlantic, over Europe and the Middle East, and then you can see Asia. Map is also limited in how far out you can scroll, making it impossible to see the entire earth at once
  • Earthquake events sometimes take several minutes to be updated in-app, at which point you may have already experienced the quake.
  • When quake data is corrected, it sometimes shows up incorrectly on the list as a second quake event.
  • Alerts can only be customized in terms of distance from your phone. There is no ability to set alerts based on specific cities.

Discussion

I live in New England, where we get earthquakes pretty infrequently. The quakes here generally don’t cause any damage, but you can definitely feel them. Just a few weeks ago, we had a quake that shook my whole house for about 10 seconds. I used the Earthquakes! app as my source of information about the quake.

Seconds after the quake stopped, I downloaded Earthquakes! However, when I opened the app for the first time, my quake event wasn’t even listed yet. It took about five minutes for my local quake to show up. But once it was on the list, I could see a lot of detailed info about the quake’s epicenter (about 30 miles away), as well as the magnitude.

But several minutes later, the magnitude was corrected by a few tenths of a point. However, this correction was listed as a separate aftershock event, when in reality there was just one event.

I really like the look of the app, and it is very easy to navigate and get a sense of the current tectonic activity around the world. However, Earthquakes! does seem a bit slow to react to events in some instances.

Still, Earthquakes! should be commended for educating users about why earthquakes happen, as well as providing users with a list of helpful tips to prepare for natural disasters.

Conclusion and download link

Earthquakes! is a great app if you have an academic interest in quakes around the world. But if you live in an area where experiencing life-threatening quake events are only a matter of time, you might want to invest in an app that has predictive properties, rather than just reporting quake events after they have happened.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 1.5

Requires iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, iOS version 4.0 or later

Download size: 9.9 MB

Earthquakes! on Apple App Store

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