Earthquakes Monitor App Rocks Windows Phone

George Spyrou

The Bay Area is very near several different faults, most notable being the San Andreas Fault and the Hayward Fault. Here at Twilio, being based in San Francisco means we’ve been through the occasional ‘quake, and more than one of our beloved non-Californians has experienced their very first earthquake while working in the area. Twilions are no strangers to earthquakes and neither is George Spyrou.

George Spyrou is the developer of the Earthquakes Monitor app for Windows Phone. Earthquakes Monitor is an application that reports any nearby earthquake activity directly to your phone. We chatted with George to learn more about how the app works and how he built it.

What does the Earthquakes Monitor App do?

The application checks published events in the USGS RSS feed every two minutes. If there has been an earthquake, the app then checks whether the criteria defined by the user [minimum Magnitude and distance from a specified location] are met by the information gathered from the most recent earthquake. If all the criteria have been met, the server side then uses Twilio to make a phone call to notify the users with the information of the event that occurred near their location.

What’s the back story of your project? How was it started?

The Earthquakes Monitor started in mid 2011 as a case study for the application development for the Windows Phone platform. The initial version was a simple viewer for the USGS RSS feed and the following versions added multiple data sources, maps, localization and push notifications functionality.

What technologies are you using to build and support it?

Check out this screencast of the app notifications:

How are you using Twilio ?

Twilio is used in order to provide information about earthquake events published byUSGS in near real time. The user in the Windows Phone app defines the following parameters : location, minimum magnitude, and maximum distance and the phone number that will be used for the notifications. The service in Windows Azure checks the latest earthquakes feed and if an earthquake event is published and it meets the user criteria (within the distance from defined location and magnitude higher that defined value) then the user receives a voice call with the following information :

  • Earthquake Magnitude
  • Location
  • Elapsed time from event occurrence

What are the future plans for the product?

The future plans for Earthquakes monitor include versions for Windows 8 Metro and iOS.

George Spyrou is a software engineer with over 10 years of experience in application development with web technologies, Geographical Information systems, Real time systems, and Client server systems.

You can learn more about Earthquake Monitor on the Plusapps website, or follow George Spyrou’s Twitter for updates: @gspyrou.

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