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Published April 19, 2013 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

The Community Seismic Network and Quake-Catcher Network: enabling structural health monitoring through instrumentation by community participants


A new type of seismic network is in development that takes advantage of community volunteers to install low-cost accelerometers in houses and buildings. The Community Seismic Network and Quake-Catcher Network are examples of this, in which observational-based structural monitoring is carried out using records from one to tens of stations in a single building. We have deployed about one hundred accelerometers in a number of buildings ranging between five and 23 stories in the Los Angeles region. In addition to a USB-connected device which connects to the host's computer, we have developed a stand-alone sensor-plug-computer device that directly connects to the internet via Ethernet or wifi. In the case of the Community Seismic Network, the sensors report both continuous data and anomalies in local acceleration to a cloud computing service consisting of data centers geographically distributed across the continent. Visualization models of the instrumented buildings' dynamic linear response have been constructed using Google SketchUp and an associated plug-in to matlab with recorded shaking data. When data are available from only one to a very limited number of accelerometers in high rises, the buildings are represented as simple shear beam or prismatic Timoshenko beam models with soil-structure interaction. Small-magnitude earthquake records are used to identify the first set of horizontal vibrational frequencies. These frequencies are then used to compute the response on every floor of the building, constrained by the observed data. These tools are resulting in networking standards that will enable data sharing among entire communities, facility managers, and emergency response groups.

Additional Information

© 2013 SPIE. We gratefully acknowledge support from the Betty and Gordon Moore Foundation, National Science Foundation (EAR-1028006), George Housner Earthquake Engineering Research Endowment (EAS-41212), Fred L. Hartley Family Foundation, and the Croucher Foundation.

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