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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bid to speed postings (GeoNet)

Bid to speed postings

Last updated 09:13 30/03/2011
GeoNet is exploring faster ways of posting earthquake details after the runaway success of its website since September.

Millions of hits on the site have been recorded after the magnitude- 7.1 quake on September 4.

From 4.35am that day until the end of the month there were 564 million hits. By yesterday morning, the number of post-September 4 hits had reached 1.2 billion.

Immediately after a large aftershock, the GNS Science and Earthquake Commission-funded GeoNet site can get up to 9000 page requests a second.

GeoNet now wants to speed up delivery of its quake information, aware that visitors and Cantabrians are seeking instant knowledge.

GeoNet project director Ken Gledhill said the "hurry up and tell us the magnitude" cry after a widely felt quake was a common complaint.

"Would you believe that we're frequently saying the same thing?" he said. "We will be as happy as anyone to stop shouting 'hurry up GeoNet'."

The analysis still involved a duty seismologist reviewing data and took 10 minutes at its fastest, but more typically 15 to 20 minutes, before being posted on the website or becoming available on social media sites.

Gledhill said GeoNet was considering replacing its quake-location system and was testing German technology developed since the Indonesian tsunami on Boxing Day 2004.

It was also considering the release of automatic, unreviewed quake locations within a matter of a few minutes, with a review being carried out later by a duty seismologist, he said.

"This is a big shift in thinking. New Zealand is a long, thin country with complicated geology and a lot of seismic noise from the ocean and the wind, which greatly increases the chances of automatic earthquake locations being incorrect," he said.

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