Pulse


Pulse

By GCN Staff


california earthquake (Crystal Eye Studio/Shutterstock.com)

USGS to tweak software after false earthquake alert

The U.S. Geological Survey is making some changes to its system for updating earthquake data after a software glitch sent out an alert for a nonexistent quake on June 21.

Robert de Groot, a staff scientist with the USGS field office in Pasadena, Calif., told GCN that the software will be modified to add a human verification step to the updating process.

Last week’s alert was sent out when researchers corrected the location of a 1925 earthquake. Because the USGS database uses Unix time, which begins in 1970, the system interpreted 1925 to mean 2025, de Groot said. As a result, alerts were sent to Earthquake Notification Service subscribers.

Going forward, the system will ask the human entering the update if the information is correct before posting, and “other modifications will made down the line,” he said.

The 1925 earthquake occurred before California had the vast seismic monitoring network it does today. As a result, data on older earthquakes can have inaccuracies, which is important to correct because the information is used by the Third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, which provides estimates of the magnitude, location and likelihood of fault ruptures throughout the state. These models are used to inform building codes, earthquake insurance policies, emergency plans and other risk-mitigation efforts.

Because no one can predict earthquakes, getting information about the quakes out as fast as possible will continue to be very important, de Groot said. “Even in the future, there will be events that require revisions,” he said -- so it's important to make sure such updates don't create any additional false alarms.

Posted on Jun 27, 2017 at 1:21 PM0 comments


drone view of forest (By l i g h t p o e t/Shutterstock.com)

Drone finds hikers in search and rescue effort

The Douglas Count. Colo., Search and Rescue Team used a drone to find lost hikers in Pike National Forest last week.

The drone, which was a recent addition for the Colorado rescue team, helped to find the hikers in just a few hours, according to CBS 4.

Roman Bukary of the Douglas County Search and Rescue Team told said that the drone helped with planning for the effort. “Before we’re out there we can search massive areas of terrain,” he said.

In addition to being outfitted with a camera, the drone used to find the hikers has the ability to use FLIR, or forward-looking infrared technology that detects heat.

Bukary said expects the team's drones to prove more useful in search and rescue. “It is ... where search and rescue, especially in the wilderness, is headed,” he said.

Posted on Jun 19, 2017 at 11:28 AM0 comments


fire fighter with radio (By possohh/Shutterstock.com)

NIST funds public safety communications research

To help modernize public safety communications and operations, the National Institute of Standards and Technology awarded $38.5 million for 33 research and development projects.

The multiyear grants are intended to support the migration of data, video and voice communications from mobile radio to the FirstNet nationwide public safety broadband network. The grants also aim to accelerate development of technologies related to indoor location tracking and public safety analytics.

The 33 selected projects span five key technology areas:

  • Mission critical voice (moving from traditional radios to cellular systems)
  • Location-based services (conducting indoor positioning, navigation and mapping)
  • Public safety analytics (handling and exploiting more data)
  • Research and prototyping platforms (enabling low-cost R&D tools)
  • Resilient systems (ensuring systems work in poor conditions)

Awardees are primarily universities, though some state office and private-sector companies were also given grants.  The full list of winners and their projects is online here.

Posted on Jun 14, 2017 at 2:50 PM0 comments


CBP agent inspects a water drainage tunnel that spans from nogales ariz into mexico. DHS photo by josh denmark

CBP seeks innovative wireless solutions

With staff manning 328 ports of entry and 20 field offices, Customs and Border Protection faces a challenge providing its 135 border patrol stations with wireless connectivity across urban, rural, rugged, air, maritime, marine and subterranean environments. 

In a June 8 request for information, CBP’s  Wireless Systems Program Division said it is looking for  “innovative communications approaches” to wireless communications for transmission of “critical voice, full motion video, sensor data, still-images, biometric information and location-based situational awareness.”

CPB is seeking solutions that can leverage its current technologies, such as thermal hand-held imaging devices, mobile video surveillance systems, personal radiation detectors and night vision devices. It also called for solutions that can work with the current legacy land mobile radio and potentially replace it.

All proposed solutions must meet CBP’s Technical Readiness Level 7, which requires  a system prototype demonstration in an operational environment.  CBP may decide to invite vendors for field demonstrations of their products during the summer of 2017. 

Submissions are due July 10.  More information can be found here.

Posted on Jun 09, 2017 at 1:23 PM0 comments


biometric scan (Army)

A better biometric ID for the battlefield

The Defense Department’s Special Operations Command is looking for the next generation of biometric identification devices for use in the field, during mass enrollments of personnel at forward operating bases or for watch-list matching.

According to the recent request for information, the technologies should allow the rapid collection and on-board storage of full-spectrum biometrics – including fingerprint, iris, face and voice capture -- and the transmission of that data to receive a match or no-match response.

The battery-powered device should be easy to learn and use – even when wearing gloves – and weigh less than three pounds.

Selected production models of hardware and equipment will be demonstrated at a March 2018  Tactical Biometric Event where they will be evaluated as to their accuracy and suitability for operators in a realistic environment.

More information is available here.

Posted on May 30, 2017 at 12:15 PM0 comments