Interactive Data Visualization of Recent Earthquakes
Mentor:Youwen Ouyang, Professor of Computer Science and Information Systems, California State University San Marcos
Funding from the National Science Foundation has enabled the deployment of seismic instruments around the world, which in turn supported the collection of large amounts of earthquake data in real time. While efforts have been made by the geosciences community to make the data available to the public, they are often presented in formats that are too technical for middle school students to make sense of with their Earth science curriculum. In addition, with so many earthquakes happening, it is often difficult to go through all of the data manually.
My project, Earthquake Plots was created in collaboration with Mr. Pete A’Hearn, K-12 Science Specialist from Palm Springs Unified School District, to create a visualization of the earthquake data that has been made available to the public by U.S. Geological Surveys (USGS). Using HTML5 and the Google Maps API, the application retrieves recent earthquake data and selects top matches based on criteria provided by teachers. The application then uses an interactive Google Map marked with longitudinal and latitudinal grids to allow students to plot selected earthquakes onto a map of the world. This process helps students not only learn about the geo-coordinates used by scientists to identify geo events but also recognize patterns of geo activities along plate boundaries. Earthquakes are plotted onto the map with different colored placemark to reflect the magnitude of the earthquake. Each placemark is also selectable, giving users the ability to find out a more detailed response for each individual earthquake. The project has been developed to support multiple platforms including the main web browsers on major Operating Systems, ranging from Windows and Mac OSX to iOS and Android.