Apple offers smartphone app for Japan on its iOS5

On Tuesday, two large earthquakes hit the United States. A 5.8 earthquake rattled the East Coast, while San Francisco endured a 3.6 magnitude earthquake of its own.

San Franciscans know it is only a matter of time until the San Andreas, Hayward or other fault lines bring a major earthquake to California, often referred to as the “Big One.” When major earthquakes hit, like the devastating earthquake in Japan last year, people often discuss how important seconds and minutes are before a natural disaster happens. Disaster preparedness can be key to survival, even if we’re alerted only seconds in advanced. reported that Apple will allow Japanese users to receive an automatic early warning feature for earthquakes on its new iPhone iOS 5 operating system. Japan already has one of the world’s most extensive and advanced systems to detect earthquakes, and the iPhone app utilizes this data. Apple says this app can give users anywhere from seconds to minutes of advanced warning to prepare. While that is not a lot of time, it can give users moments to move away from heavy objects or get to higher ground.

Judging by how understandably unnerved East Coast residents were in light of the 5.8 earthquake, and California’s likelihood of the “Big One,” earthquake warning apps could be valuable technology in the United States as well.

We’ve already seen successful models for how using predictive tools can help save lives. Predictive technology has even been used by the LAPD to use crime map data to predict future crime patterns.

At Reset San Francisco, we’re using data and technology to increase public safety, to make government more efficient and to generally make our lives better.

Stay tuned as we continue to find these great ideas happening all over the country – and all over the world.