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Introducing KPCC's new Earthquake Tracker

Earthquake Tracker

KPCC/Chris Keller

KPCC's Earthquake Tracker.

As part of our continuing coverage of the 20th anniversary of Northridge, we've built an Earthquake Tracker on our website. It's an interactive map that keeps a record of all seismic activity in California.

KPCC's news application developer, Chris Keller, joins the show to explain how it works. 

Interview Highlights:

On how the mapping tool works:
"We're basically cataloguing earthquakes in California that the United States Geological Survey records. Admittedly, it's very basic right now. After each earthquake, the USGS asks the public for information about whether or not they felt an earthquake. They record information about the earthquake such as the magnitude, the intensity, various other factors and location, obviously. And they make that available to the public in almost a real time format. So we're hitting what is known as an API. It's basically a source of data and we're grabbing that information and storing it in a database and then presenting it to users on our website."

On how to navigate the website:
"When you reach the website for the first time, you're going to find a list of some recent earthquakes and a lot of earthquakes plotted on a map to the right. Again, this is showing earthquakes in California, so as you pan around the map you can find different location of earthquakes. We have grouped them together in areas where there were multiple instances of an earthquake over time. And then just some basic filters or layers that you can add to the map that you can explore, where an earthquake happened in relationship to a fault line. You're able to type in your address or search for your location to find out where you might be in relationship to an earthquake, also in relationship to fault lines. We hope to build this out a little bit further and add some additional layers."

On how frequent earthquakes are in California:
"In prepping this to go live this week, I have been going back the past 30 days or so and routinely finding 800 instances of an earthquake over the last month, just in California, which is a lot. You don't realize that they happen quite as frequent as perhaps one might think."

On what he hopes to add to the tool:
"One of the things we want to do is add additional layers to the map to display different kinds of information. For instance, landslide zones, liquefaction zones so people can sort of see different seismic hazards, as they are called. Another area we would like to add is really to try to create a place, to create a conversation around earthquake preparedness."

This is one in a weeklong series of stories on KPCC leading up to Friday's 20th anniversary of the devastating 1994 Northridge Earthquake. You can view more stories on our Northridge Anniversary page. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page, on Twitter and in the comments below.


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