Though I’ve seen a pretty wide variety of iPhone apps in every category and admittedly don’t know all of them by a long shot, Quake SOS is the first app I’ve seen that is designed for use in a natural disaster emergency. A combination of an emergency alert system for victims of earthquakes and an earthquake information guide, Quake SOS is a free app and requires registration to use effectively.
Quake SOS allows users to provide contact information of family and friends and to alert them if you are in an earthquake. You can notify your contacts that you are safe, or that you need help, whichever your situation would warrant.
Other useful information includes an earthquake database of sorts that updates every time you launch Quake SOS. It provides information such as when and where earthquakes have occurred, the Richter scale magnitude and depth of the quake, and a map displaying the actual location.
Registered users can notify others if they felt the quake and see the number of users reporting safe. Quake SOS also includes news pertaining to specific quakes.
While the one notable issue regarding the effectiveness of Quake SOS is the fact that a signal is required for it to work, it remains a plausible source of information and assistance in the face of a natural disaster. The signal requirement could certainly pose a problem, depending on the situation. Obviously smaller quakes probably won’t take out satellite towers and internet signals, but larger ones certainly could. In that case, no information could be sent or gathered. It would really depend and reliability is certainly unpredictable.
Aside from the benefits of quick notification, Quake SOS is also educationally entertaining, especially if you have an interest in earthquakes or even global phenomenon. For instance, I never realized that an earthquake occurs somewhere in the world nearly every day. It seems the average magnitude is between 4 and 5, but the average depth is quite varied. The news snippets and map views are also interesting.
Again, Quake SOS is a free app and though you must register to use it to its fullest capacity, it will certainly prove interesting from certain standpoints — like world-wide earthquake happenings — and could even prove genuinely useful by notifying loved ones of your wellbeing in the event of an emergency.