Social Media, Citizen Seismology and Reducing Earthquake Risk

Social Media, Citizen Seismology and Reducing Earthquake Risk

The project is led by EMSC (European Mediterranean Seismological Centre), a non-profit organization constituting one of the world’s main centers of seismological information. The project builds on an existing working prototype developed by scientists, which has evolved over the past 15 years into one of the top two global prototypes in this field. 

Duration of the project: 2020-2022 (currently underway)


EMSC provides earthquake risk awareness-raising and warning services (via its website, mobile application, Twitter alerts, etc.). These services, which have been available for several years in 33 languages, are at risk of becoming obsolete, particularly due to the higher volume of so-called “citizen” seismological data available, but also because a growing number of users would like to see more features providing greater interactivity with the services on offer. 

The project aims to modernize and enhance the robustness of these services, and is split into three stages:  

  • First, a technical audit will review the structure of the existing services with a view to streamlining them; 
  • Next, the existing services will be upgraded to adapt to the changes mentioned above; 
  • Finally, new features will be developed, concentrating in particular on more efficient interaction with users in order to provide (among other things) closer monitoring in post-tremor awareness-raising campaigns.  

The project is primarily concerned with society and people. By raising public awareness of the best practices to adopt with regard to (and above all following) earthquakes, it aims to limit human casualties and injuries as much as possible, which is a noble objective. 

While the benefits in terms of pricing are limited, the project will enable insurers to better estimate reserves. The images provided by the users themselves will lead to improved assessment of the severity of losses on the ground. 

In addition, the improved quality of the services provided by EMSC should lead to more people using the facility, which should in turn lead a certain form of exhaustiveness in the demarcation of areas affected by natural catastrophes. Assessing the true severity of an event could lead to better anticipation, and more efficient management, of its after-effects.  

By providing a wealth of data, a moderate earthquake that occurred near Athens, Greece on July 19, 2019, illustrates how crowdsourced data from EMSC can complement data from seismological networks to better characterize and map earthquake effects.

The original research article “Evaluation of macroseismic intensity, strong ground motion pattern and fault model of the 19 July 2019 Mw5.1” presents a joint analysis of the instrumental and macroseismic data collected for this earthquake. 

Presentation - "Citizen Seismology and its Contribution to Seismic Risk Reduction"

Click here to learn more about LastQuake, the leading earthquake app created by EMSC, which collects crucial, real-time data from eyewitnesses as earthquakes happen.