The City of Los Angeles is the second largest city in the U.S., with nearly 4 million citizens. The City is also the center of the nation’s film and television industry.
The City of Los Angeles had no central location where residents could find information about earthquakes that may have occurred in their area. The city sought to address this issue by building a service that releases the data across multiple channels from websites to digital assistants. Earthquake Watch is a service which retrieves raw earthquake data from the national U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), filters it down specifically for the Los Angeles area, and then provides that information to residents in user-friendly, easy to understand and innovative ways.
Instead of relying solely on traditional online channels to release data such as the website, releasing this data through digital assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home marks a new innovative approach for the City of Los Angeles and showcases its intentions to interact and engage its citizens in the channels of the future.
All elements of the service utilizes the API provided by the national U.S. Geological Survey to retrieve raw data about earthquakes. The city then displays the data on a Google Map hosted on a Drupal website hosted by Acquia on the cloud. The USGS data is also delivered to the City of LA's official Amazon Alexa and Google Home skills developed using Node.JS. The team used open source tools and languages to build the applications and utilized Acquia's hosting platform for stability.
In the event of a serious earthquake, traffic to a website such as Earthquake Watch is anticipated to shoot up rapidly. As such, the City of LA needed a reliable hosting platform that can maintain stability in the event of sudden traffic spikes. The Acquia Cloud platform has provided the City of LA a strong level of stability in the past for other sites in their portfolio, especially during previous emergencies like the Creek Fire of 2017. Therefore relying on Acquia for this project was an easy decision to make.
The success of this project will bear out during the event of an emergency and therefore would need to be measured after an earthquake has occurred.