Driving back to Wellington one Sunday evening after a weekend away, we were listening to the radio, when the program was interrupted with a news flash that Wellington* had been hit by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake.
The first thing we thought of was: Do we really want to go back to Wellington that night?
The second thing we thought of was: Start texting friends to ensure that they were OK. After a few texts, boredom and thumb strain set in, and it struck me that it would sort of useful to have an app that would automatically text one's contacts in the event of a suitably large earthquake. A 'Please help (me)' type of message including the latitude and longitude could be used, to ensure that ones friends actually called back to see if one was ok, and if one wasn't, at least they would have a latitude and longitude to start looking for one.
That seemed a bit over the top for the 99.9% of the time that one wouldn't be incapacitated by a collapsing building, so the ability to send an 'I'm Ok' or an '(Are) You Ok', as opposed to a help request, message would also be useful to send one's contacts.
Hence Terris.Terris originated as a New Zealand earthquake orientated app. Its intent is to regularly poll for earthquakes from different feeds, and present the user with a list of results. Current feeds are:
The user can navigate into these results to see the location of the earthquake on a map view. They can further navigate to get finer details on each earthquake, and ultimately can view the quake in the originators site if required. A time control on the map allows the user to see how the current earthquake relates to previous and future earthquakes in the time line.
The earthquakes can be searched by feed (GNS, USGS, EMSC, BGS and JMA), magnitude, depth, date and distance to quake from the user's current location to limit the results displayed.
The user can set up the application, so that in the event an earthquake above a certain magnitude occurs, the application will attempt to rapidly prompt the user through the iOS SMS and Email systems to send either a 'Please Help (me)' request , or an 'I'm ok' confirmation notification messages to the user's registered contacts. The user has the option of sending their location in the help request, to aid with their rescue.
The user can register notification contacts via their address book or by free form text.
In the event that the user feels the earthquake before being prompted by the application, the user can choose to trigger the sending of the the 'Please Help' (me), 'You Ok?' or 'I'm Ok' notifications themselves.
Note that the notion of sending a help request with location coordinates does not have to be confined to an earthquake scenario. Twisting an ankle while out on a hike would be an example. You do want your friends to come and give you a hand, but you don't necessarily want all branches of the emergency services involved in a full blown search & rescue effort.
* Actually it was Seddon that got hammered, but as this didn't fit in with the Kiwi collective psyche's dream of Wellington getting flattened by 'The Big One', it took a while for that to be acknowledged.
For any suggestions or queries contact: firstname.lastname@example.org