ARMY OF DAVIDS, EARTHQUAKE EDITION: Developed by UC-Berkeley scientists, the MyShake Android app uses crowdsourcing to detect earthquakes. From the LAT report:
The cellphone MyShake app would not replace the USGS’ early warning system, Allen said. Smartphones will never be as effective as hundreds of sophisticated earthquake sensor stations installed underground to detect the first subtle signs that an earthquake has begun.
Still, a successful smartphone app, woven into the USGS system, could make the overall warning network even faster in California, Oregon and Washington state, he said. And it would enable the technology to be used in other areas of the world with few or no earthquake sensors.
“Nepal has almost no seismic stations. But they have 6 million smartphones. There are 600,000 smartphones in Kathmandu alone,” Allen said. “So if we can get MyShake working, then we could potentially be providing early warning in Kathmandu.”
Related, ICYMI, my report on the use of smart phone apps and crowdsourcing to collect economic data, especially in less-developed countries.