Stan’s Obligatory Blog


My pet project

Filed under: — stan @ 10:51 pm

ens screenshot
I don’t usually write much about work here, but today was a momentous day. It was the most excitement I’ve had since the last M6 earthquake.

My project is the Earthquake Notification System. This is a system for automatic email notification of worldwide earthquakes. We’ve had public mailing lists for earthquake notification since about 2000, but they were ‘one size fits all’ in that people could choose only to get either M4 or M3 events, and they had a choice of Southern California, Northern California, or the whole world. This new system is the first time subscribers can pick their own custom geographic boundaries and notification thresholds.

This all started a bit over two years ago as my pet project. People have been asking for something like this for years, but it’s only recently that I figured out how to do it. So for the past two years, it’s been my little office pet. Every so often, I would trot it out and show it to people. They would suggest some more features they’d like to see, and then I’d put it away.

But about a year ago, the people at the National Earthquake Information Center took an interest in it. And it went from being a pet project to being a real project. They even got some web designers to help it look pretty. And today it went public. Yikes. There’s even a link to it off the front page of the Earthquake Hazards Program web site.

It’s kind of fun seeing something I invented being used by lots of people. At the same time, it’s kind of scary, since if it fails, I’m the one who will look stupid.

Have I mentioned recently that I really like my job?

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