Development of the U.S. Geological Survey's PAGER system (Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response)

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The Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) System plays a primary alerting role for global earthquake disasters as part of the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) response protocol. We provide an overview of the PAGER system, both of its current capabilities and our ongoing research and development. PAGER monitors the USGS’s near real-time U.S. and global earthquake origins and automatically identifies events that are of societal importance, well in advance of ground-truth or news accounts. Current PAGER notifications and Web pages estimate the population exposed to each seismic intensity level. In addition to being a useful indicator of potential impact, PAGER’s intensity/exposure display provides a new standard in the dissemination of rapid earthquake information. We are currently developing and testing a more comprehensive alert system that will include casualty estimates. This is motivated by the idea that an estimated range of possible number of deaths will aid in decisions regarding humanitarian response. Underlying the PAGER exposure and loss models are global earthquake ShakeMap shaking estimates, constrained as quickly as possible by finite-fault modeling and observed ground motions and intensities, when available. Loss modeling is being developed comprehensively with a suite of candidate models that range from fully empirical to largely analytical approaches. Which of these models is most appropriate for use in a particular earthquake depends on how much is known about local building stocks and their vulnerabilities. A first-order country-specific global building inventory has been developed, as have corresponding vulnerability functions. For calibrating PAGER loss models, we have systematically generated an Atlas of 5,000 ShakeMaps for significant global earthquakes during the last 36 years. For many of these, auxiliary earthquake source and shaking intensity data are also available. Refinements to the loss models are ongoing. Fundamental to such an alert system, we are also developing computational and communications infrastructure for rapid and robust operations and worldwide notifications. PAGER’s methodologies and datasets are being developed in an open environment to support other loss estimation efforts and provide avenues for outside collaboration and critique.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Conference Paper
Publication Subtype:
Conference Paper
Development of the U.S. Geological Survey's PAGER system (Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response)
Year Published:
Contributing office(s):
National Earthquake Information Center
8 p.
Larger Work Type:
Larger Work Subtype:
Conference publication
Larger Work Title:
The 14th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering: October 12-17, 2008, Beijing, China