Citizen Earthquake Science in Taiwan: From Science to Hazard Mitigation
Wen-Tzong Liang*,†, Jian-Cheng Lee*, Kate Huihsuan Chen**, and Nai-Chi Hsiao***
*Institute of Earth Sciences, Academia Sinica
128, Academia Road, Section 2, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan
**Department of Earth Sciences, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan
***Seismological Center, Central Weather Bureau, Taipei, Taiwan
Taiwan is located at the convergent plate boundary between the Eurasian and the Philippine Sea plates. As a result, intense earthquake activity and associated surface deformation are manifesting in this region. To implement and promote citizen earthquake science in Taiwan, we have developed several web-based platforms with multi-purpose themes, such as earthquake science information, popular science education, and crowdsourcing systems. First, with the rapid earthquake report issued from the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau (CWB), the available near real-time scientific results obtained from the Taiwanese seismology community are collected and published to a platform, the Taiwan Earthquake Science Information System (TESIS). The scientific information archived at TESIS includes CWB earthquake reports, focal mechanisms, shake maps, and finite source models (for strong earthquakes). All real-time results are integrated into a GIS system with background geospatial information, such as geological maps, traces of active faults, background seismicity, and inter-seismic GPS velocity fields. Second, by collaborating with Stanford University to maintain a regional Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) server in Taiwan, we have promoted citizen seismology in Asia by bringing earthquake information and scientific knowledge to the public. More than 200 school teachers have already installed the QCN sensors in Internet-enabled computers. Through two web-based educational platforms, users are able to access the guidelines and further interact with the recorded waveforms. Third, we also developed an earthquake damage reporting system – the Taiwan Scientific Earthquake Reporting (TSER) system – to encourage the citizen to collect field observation for significant earthquake-induced ground damages such as surface fault rupture, landslide, rock fall, liquefaction, and landslide-triggered dam or lake. The TSER system is constructed under the Ushahidi mapping platform, which has been widely used in crowdsourcing for the geospatial archiving of events. Trained high school teachers and public volunteers can send their ground damage observations, including photographs, through the TSER system. Most of these products and online systems are now being operated by the Taiwan Earthquake Research Center (TEC). With these newly developed platforms and materials, we aim to not only raise earthquake awareness and preparedness, but also encourage public participation in earthquake science in Taiwan.
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