39 TERRA SEISMIC Using Big Data To Predict Earthquakes


Terra Seismic are a Jersey-based company established in 2012 with the aim of improving the early detection of natural disasters caused by seismic activity, such as earthquakes and tsunamis. Their mission is “to reduce the risk and damage of earthquakes”. They carry out Big Data analysis of environmental factors and historical data to forecast the likelihood of quakes, and make the data available to the public through their Web portal at www.quakehunters.com.

What Problem Is Big Data Helping To Solve?

Earthquakes and the associated problems they cause – such as tsunamis, aftershocks and public health emergencies – take a tremendous toll on human life. In 2014, 16,674 people lost their lives to them. The rate of fatalities has increased gradually over time, despite advances in medical science and emergency response, owing to increased population density in areas affected by seismic activity. There is also a huge commercial cost in terms of infrastructure damage and emergency response work. Almost a quarter of a million people were made homeless by the 2011 Tōhoku, Japan earthquake. On average, this financial cost is thought to amount to around $13 billion per year.

Developing nations are often hardest hit by these calamities, and the cost of emergency response and rebuilding infrastructure puts further strain on economies, leading to a further spread of hardship. Despite huge amounts of research over many years, ...

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