Commons Lab of the Science and Technology Innovation Program, Woodrow Wilson Center.

The U.S. Geological Survey’s “Did You Feel It?” (DYFI) system allows people who experience an earthquake to go online and share information about its effects, thus helping to create a map of shaking intensities and damage. These citizen-generated maps contribute greatly to the rapid assessment of an earthquake’s scope and impact, and provide valuable data for earthquake research. Since 1999, DYFI has collected more than 2 million entries from across the United States. The vivid and often frightening nature of an individual’s earthquake experience offers an opportunity to gather information about risk perception, while simultaneously engaging citizens in the scientific process and educating them about preparedness and safe response. Scientifically, DYFI data make up in quantity what they may lack in quality, and help resolve long-standing issues in earthquake science. Yet web-based contributions also pose considerable challenges. After a decade of operational experience with the DYFI system for citizen-based science, we document lessons learned, including how they apply to other social media (e.g., Twitter) and volunteer-based methods for earthquake detection. For more info, visit the DYFI Website.

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For more information about this event, please contact Lea Shanley, Director, The Commons Lab, Science and Technology Innovation Program, Wilson Center: CommonsLab [at] wilsoncenter [dot] org 

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