6 APIs for Earthquakes

Anyone who has experienced an earthquake knows the uncertainty and loss of total control one feels while the Earth is shaking below their feet. And though accurately predicting earthquakes may never happen, collecting data to study them helps people prepare for these sudden surprise events that can be disastrous to humans. By analyzing earthquake data, scientists can create safer building guidelines, build predictive models for tsunamis and other environmental effects, and possibly, one day predict seismic events.

Developers wanting to create earthquake related applications should check out the Earthquakes category ProgrammableWeb API directory. This article details some highlights of the APIs found there, which include APIs for disaster response information, seismic data, and satellite imagery of the Earth.

1. ReliefWeb API

ReliefWeb is a humanitarian information service provided by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Content on this site including the latest disaster information, relief reports, maps, and infographics from trusted sources, is delivered through the ReliefWeb API.

2. USGS Earthquake Catalog API

United States Geological Survey (USGS) provides tools to discover information about the Earth and its processes and provides science about hazards, water, energy, minerals, and other natural resources. The USGS Earthquake Catalog API allows custom searches for earthquake information using a variety of parameters, such as start and end times, duration, circle search including geolocation and radius, magnitude, depth, contributer events, event id, alert level, and more.

3. Urthecast API

Urthecast provides satellite imagery of the earth, including live imagery from cameras mounted on the ISS. The Urthecast APIs allow users to access Earth imagery, geospatial information and other data sets for building dynamic applications to monitor the planet. The service can provide before and after satellite photos of natural disasters including Earthquakes.

4. Seismic Data Portal API

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) is an organization provides rapid earthquake information for analysis. The Seismic Data Portal API methods support retrieval of reports on seismic events, including search for specific events, lists of recent events, and details about each one such as location and magnitude. Methods also provide information about seismic waveforms detected, the velocity of their movement, and projected arrival times at specified locations.

The Seismic Portal provides interactive mapped earthquake data

The Seismic Portal provides interactive mapped earthquake data. Image: EMSC

5. Resgrid API

Resgrid is a cloud management and logistics Platform built specifically for first responder teams. The company offers mobile applications to track the real time status of phone responders as well as the location of units in the field. The tools are made specifically for volunteer, search and rescue, fire, and disaster response organizations. The Resgrid API enables users to manage users, stations, settings, personnel, and general account management.

6. Japan Seismic Hazard Information Station

The Japan Seismic Hazard Information Station, or J-SHIS, is part of Japan's National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention. It helps the Japanese public prepare for earthquakes by maintaining maps and numerical data regarding seismic activity, and allowing public access to its data via a RESTful API. API Documentation is provided in Japanese.

Check out the Earthquakes category for more developer resources.

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