To reduce communication barriers to the populace and public and private institutions, Lebanon’s earthquake monitoring center has developed the new mobile application, Lebquake.
Soon, anyone with a smartphone will have access to the location, magnitude and time of earthquakes happening in and close to Lebanon.
“The objective of this application is that the population receives reliable information from a source that is in charge,” says Marleine Brax, the director of the National Center for Geophysical Research, noting that the app is still in its beta version.
The center is under the National Council for Scientific Research, whose Secretary-General Dr. Mouin Hamze, emphasizes the importance of communicating information about earthquakes accurately. “We decided, since everyone has a smartphone, that an application is the best way to communicate the information to the population,” he says.
The lack of accessible information became apparent when a 5.2 magnitude earthquake struck Lebanon in 2008, Hamze explains. Recalling the barely manageable situation, he says, “we received over 1,000 phone calls, they blocked us completely.”
Today, 10 to 12 monitoring stations all over Lebanon, which are directly connected to the main server in Bhannes, provide accurate information about seismic events.
“We can talk about accuracy as high as 95 percent at least,” Hamze says, stressing that international monitoring centers have failed in accurately localizing earthquakes in Lebanon.
He adds that earthquake monitoring could be improved even further if internet speeds in the country were faster. “When there is an event, the huge volume of information that has to be transferred from a station to our main server takes a few minutes now,” he says. “If we are lucky.”
The next step for Lebquake is translating the app from English to French and Arabic, Brax notes.
Enhancements to its desktop version are also in the works. “This will be our priority No. 1, so any operation room, if it is the Army operation room, Internal Security Forces, Civil Defense or the Red Cross, they can download it and will have it in real time.”
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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