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Real-time earthquake reports powered by FME

The California Earthquake Authority (CEA) needs to know when an earthquake with the potential to impact their policyholders has occurred.
Sacramento Cityscape Sacramento Cityscape

The CEA protects livelihoods with accurate and timely earthquake reporting

California gets two or three earthquakes at a magnitude of 5.5 or higher every year. These earthquakes can happen at any time and are large enough to cause moderate damage to homes and structures. For many residents in California, having an earthquake insurance policy safeguards their livelihoods and provides peace of mind.

Stephanie Halpin, a GIS Manager at California Earthquake Authority (CEA), received a request to automate delivery of United States Geological Survey (USGS) Shakemap data to executives. They needed to know immediately when an earthquake with the potential to impact their policyholders had occurred.

The solution was a near real-time notification service to read the spatial dataset from their chosen earthquake feed and identify significant earthquakes.

How they made it possible – no code required.

The USGS collates earthquake data into its Shakemap dataset and offers an email notification service, which CEA monitors using FME Flow Hosted. When new maps become available, FME triggers a workflow to read the Shakemap GeoJSON feed and identify if earthquakes in California are of significant magnitude to cause property damage. If so, the workflow extracts applicable shaking intensity data from relevant Shakemap Shapefiles, places it into an Excel report, and emails this to stakeholders, all within minutes of the earthquakes being detected.

The claims department now receives near real-time reports of any earthquakes that may damage policyholders’ residences. By choosing to deploy FME technology in the cloud, CEA saves the costs of maintaining in-house servers and only pays for what they use.

Now, Stephanie is exploring other ways she can apply FME to save herself time and effort. She’s begun a project where she queries data from two databases that can’t speak to each other. Using FME, she reads both and creates a report that joins information to give colleagues greater insights. Previously thought impossible, she’s almost finished the project already.

CEA policyholders
between notification and email delivery
“FME is a great tool, I’m going to use it for lots of different things now. I can’t figure out how I would have done these projects without it.”
Stephanie Halpin
GIS Manager, California Earthquake Authority
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