The Linux Foundation, Grillo and IBM Announce New Earthquake Early-Warning Open Source OpenEEW Project

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  • OpenEEW was created by Grillo with support from IBM, USAID, the Clinton Foundation and Arrow Electronics
  • The OpenEEW Project includes several core IoT components: sensor hardware and firmware that can rapidly detect and transmit ground motion

The Linux Foundation has announced that it will host Grillo’s OpenEEW project in collaboration with IBM to accelerate the standardization and deployment of earthquake early-warning systems (EEWs) for earthquake preparedness around the world. This project includes the core components of the Grillo EEW system comprised of integrated capabilities to sense, detect, and analyse earthquakes and alert communities. OpenEEW was created by Grillo with support from IBM, USAID, the Clinton Foundation and Arrow Electronics

Mike Dolan, senior vice president and GM of Projects at the Linux Foundation said, “The OpenEEW Project represents the very best in technology and in open source. We’re pleased to be able to host and support such an important project and community at the Linux Foundation. The open source community can enable rapid development and deployment of these critical systems across the world.”

Real-time detection systems that can be deployed on various platforms

Earthquakes often have the most severe consequences in developing countries, due in part to construction and infrastructure issues. Timely alerts have the potential to help save lives in the communities where earthquakes pose the greatest threat. EEW systems provide public alerts in countries including Mexico, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Nearly three billion people globally live with the threat of an earthquake and don’t have access to nation-wide systems. These can cost upwards of one billion U.S. dollars. OpenEEW wants to help reduce the costs of EEW systems, accelerate their deployments globally.

The OpenEEW Project includes several core IoT components like sensor hardware and firmware that can rapidly detect and transmit ground motion. It has real-time detection systems that can be deployed on various platforms from a Kubernetes cluster to a Raspberry Pi. It also has applications that allow users to receive alerts on hardware devices, wearables, or mobile apps.

Andres Meira, founder, Grillo said, “For years we have seen that EEWs have only been possible with very significant governmental financing, due to the cost of dedicated infrastructure and development of algorithms. We expect that OpenEEW will reduce these barriers and work towards a future where everyone who lives in seismically-active areas can feel safe.”

New machine learning earthquake characterisation and detection methods

IBM has deployed a set of six of Grillo’s earthquake sensor hardware and is conducting tests in Puerto Rico, complementing Grillo’s tools with a new Node-RED dashboard to visualize readings. IBM is also extending a Docker software version of the detection component that can be deployed to Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift on the IBM Cloud.

Grillo sensors have generated more than 1TB of data since 2017 in Mexico, Chile, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica. It includes information from large earthquakes of magnitudes 6 and 7. Researchers from Harvard University and the University of Oregon are already working with this data. This will help new machine learning earthquake characterisation and detection methods.

Harvard professor Maine Denolle said, “Understanding the ground on which Mexico City is built is an important facet of earthquake hazards. With support from the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, we are working with Grillo to deploy a dense network of sensors across Mexico City and analyze the seismic behavior and local seismicity beneath the ancient lake basin. Our collaboration also enables open source software development for the next generation of seismology on the cloud.”

It said that the aim objective of the project is to encourage a variety of people like makers, data scientists, entrepreneurs, seismologists – to build EEWs in places like Nepal, New Zealand, Ecuador, and other seismic regions. The community may contribute to OpenEEW by advancing the sensor hardware design, improving detection and characterization of earthquakes through machine learning, and creating new methods for delivering alerts to citizens.

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