Disaster Alert is powered by Pacific Disaster Center's DisasterAWARE (All-hazards Warning, Analysis, and Risk Evaluation). DisasterAWARE is an integrated platform providing situational awareness, decision support, and information exchange capabilities to disaster management decision makers around the world to support endeavors of humanitarian assistance in the realm of disaster management and risk reduction.
The mobile app is powered by Pacific Disaster Center's DisasterAWARE platform. Additional functionality and content is publicly available via the PDC Disaster Alert. Also, see the PDC website at www.pdc.org for a rich library of resources, and links to Facebook and Twitter feeds that broadcast Hazard Alerts for the benefit of the general public.
Pacific Disaster Center assigns severity levels of Warning (most severe), Watch, Advisory, or Information (least severe). The levels represent degrees of potential for the event to be harmful or hazardous. Please note these are used as public safety guidelines, not as deterministic predictions. "Warning" means that severe impact or damage is highly likely and anticipated. "Watch" means modest impact is likely and the public should be alert. "Advisory" means to continue to monitor, but impact is currently not likely/not very large, etc. While the precise meaning will vary from one source to another, PDC's assigned status (Warning, Watch, Advisory, Information) is used to simplify alerts and stay consistent since reports are integrated for multiple hazards.
The collection of hazards in Disaster Alert are vetted and shared by the Pacific Disaster Center. Authoritative source agencies that consistently issue bulletins have been selected for automation. These sources generally include a level or status along with their bulletins. Other hazards may be selected for manual processing at Pacific Disaster Center.
Pacific Disaster Center currently monitors Cyclone, Earthquake, Flood (Hawaii), High Surf (Hawaii), High Wind (Hawaii), Man Made, Marine, Storm, Tsunami, Volcano, and Wildfire hazards. PDC continues to expand its monitoring capabilities as it identifies new and reliable sources. New sources will automatically appear on all systems, including the mobile app, once they are added. Please see legend for more on hazard types and severities.
National Hurricane Center, Joint Typhoon Warning Center
National Earthquake Information Center
National Weather Service Honolulu Office
National Weather Service Honolulu Office
National Weather Service Honolulu Office
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center
Global Volcanism Project
As a basis for warnings, Pacific Disaster Center vets official information from scientific agencies and sources that observe, analyze, and report events. This network is continuously expanded upon, in ways that may provide services automatically, and around the clock. Significant global events require manual processing. Pacific Disaster Center is able to capture certain events reported by the news, as well.
The Hazards are listed "newest products" first, but the new product may often be an update to a longstanding hazard. This is done to ensure that users will always see the latest updates as the severity or location of a hazard may change over time. So, if you have trouble understanding event order, remember to look at the Active Hazard listing as a list of products, the newest product is at the top. This is also why you see two timestamps on Hazards, "Reported" and "Updated."
Keep in mind that push notifications are only issued for new hazards (not updates), and they refer to the hazards at the top of the Active Hazards list. But, a new hazard (for which you might have received a notification) may be on the top of the list for only seconds.
Pacific Disaster Center constantly works to automate processing of messages from new sources for its DisasterAWARE platform, and the Disaster Alert mobile app. Overtime, to fill more gaps, Pacific Disaster Center will consider all "official" and reliable data sources, provided that the data are made available to the public by the agency. If you want to recommend a source, please send a link and/or additional information to email@example.com.
To avoid overcrowding of the map, the app does not display all events—only those deemed "potentially hazardous to people, property, and assets," based on pre-defined thresholds determined by Pacific Disaster Center, which processes hundreds of alerts daily. All events detected by Pacific Disaster Center are available on Disaster Alert.
If you don't see any hazards, it is probably because a firewall at your location (or at your ISP) prevents your device from reaching the servers. Test the app by: (a) switching from Wireless to 3G/4G, or (b) running the app at different locations.
To assure accuracy, Pacific Disaster Center relies on credible warning agencies for its Active Hazard information. Unfortunately, not all hazards have a globally reliable source, or a source may delay reporting, and thus either cannot be automated or does not appear instantaneously. For significant events, Pacific Disaster Center manually processes alerts until other arrangements can be made to automate them. This can lead to less consistent coverage due to the intensity of the resources that would be required to cover and verify the information globally. While very unlikely, it is also possible that Pacific Disaster Center sources have failed to detect or report an event. We do our best to minimize these instances.
Keep in mind that the purpose of this app is to provide information on active/pending hazards and disasters. Therefore, once the major response period is over and the incident is well documented, we "expire" the hazard from "active" status after some period of time (if they have not caused major damage and/or have not sparked response operations). For instance, during recovery efforts the event may be removed, or certain activities like volcanoes or droughts may go on for long periods of time, we do not keep the hazard active unless there is a change in their status. Again, this is done to avoid over-crowding the small map, and to keep reporting the "active" hazards. Other hazards may stay on until the official monitoring agency issues an "all clear" ... so the timing for each event may be slightly different.
Some disasters are kept active for a longer period of time, particularly when there's prolonged humanitarian assistance associated with the event, or if the natural phenomenon continues to pose a potential threat to lives and property. Pacific Disaster Center automatically "expires" old hazards into an archive when the hazard passes its "active" mode—when the threat dissipates, for example, or when emergency operations end. Usually, the icons on the screen represent events within a 48-hour window. On rare occasions, something like a continuing flood or long-term volcanic eruption may seem quite old when it is still a current threat.
Wars are often political issues that are covered by the news agencies. Although wars are horrible "man-made" events, it is currently outside of the scope of what may be reliably verified and reported (especially, before they happen or immediately as they happen). We are doing our best to get "hazard warnings" to the public on a global scale, before, or soon after they happen. In the case of wars, News networks are perhaps the fastest sources as they have reporters on the ground.
There's almost always something on the map. After launching the app, you should see a map of the world, and following that, icons representing different hazard types. If you don't see the map or the map does not rotate around the globe, the map provider may have failed to fulfill map requests due to heavy loads. If you experience difficulty: (a) try swapping between maps using the "gears" icon on the bottom right corner, (b) reboot your device, (c) close the app and relaunch after a few minutes.
You should be able to rotate the map around the world, going left or right. You should also be able to change the map extent and zoom in and out. Occasionally a provider's map services can be overtaxed, and then fail to return the requested image. A functional basic map should display when others fail. Try swapping between providers' (Google, Bing, etc.) maps (using the "gears" icon on the bottom right corner to resolve any issues.
There are two possible reasons for a particular land area not being detectable, especially when you are looking at the map at global extent. First, there are the choices made by the map provider (Apple, Bing, or Google) about the how to depict the edges of the full extent. In order to make the large continents larger, the default cut-off is sometimes above or on New Zealand's North Island, for example. Second there is the question of scale. Smaller objects (Hawaii and the Pacific islands) are just not seen in maps of extreme scales. When you zoom in, you are changing both the extent (how much of the world you see) and the scale (how much detail can be displayed).
Regional Reports are generated by Pacific Disaster Center, based on a variety of sources, and represent an easy to understand "snapshot" of a given time and geographical area. In Regional Reports, Hazard Status is either NEW or UPDATE as reported by subject matter experts.
This displays information from the 2011 LandScan Global Population Database created by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Population counts are at 30 arc second resolution.
Updated every 30 minutes, this layer shows the current day/night status of the world. Information originates at the Pacific Disaster Center.
This experimental real-time TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) product contains precipitation accumulation estimates on a 0.25 degree latitude/longitude grid covering the globe from 50 S to 50 N latitude. Where satellite-based microwave precipitation estimates are available, they are used to fill the grid. The rest of the grid is filled with precipitation estimates based on infrared satellite observations. The data originates from Precipitation Processing System (PPS), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
The Global Cloud Cover data is obtained from the Space Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Surface air temperature represents data from the Global Forecast System (GFS) U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Global Forecast System (GFS) numerical weather prediction model 8-day, 3-hourly global forecast at approximately 50-km or 0.5-deg resolution.
This is a daily, high-resolution, global sea surface temperature analysis that has been developed at NOAA NCEP, Marine Modeling and Analysis Branch (MMAB). Updates occur at midnight GMT.
Your input is valued and immediately reviewed and is taken into consideration by Pacific Disaster Center's development team. However, we need to balance feature requests against our development budget. If you have a recommendation or encounter an issue that is not documented in the FAQ, please forward a description and screen shot to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Push notifications are designed to alert/notify users of new hazards. Global notifications can be turned on/off by selecting "Account Settings" from the menu panel of the app. Then toggle "Push Notifications" on/off.
In version 3.0, a new subscription feature was added to Disaster Alert, allowing users to customize (limit) notifications to a particular geography of interest and/or hazard severity. Subscribers to this service may choose from a 3, 6, or 12 month option, for $2.99, $5.99, or $9.99, respectively.
Daily Tips are designed to provide users with information about the mobile app and its sources. We hope you use them to learn about the app and the hazard information available to you. To turn on/off these "Tips," select "Account Settings" from the menu panel of the app and toggle "Start Up Tip" on/off.
Signing up for subscriptions is easy. In the app, go to the Menu icon (on the top left corner) and select "Account Settings." Under the heading Subscription, select "Subscribe to Customize Alerts," which should prompt you to choose a plan.
After selecting a plan, the app will automatically connect with the iTunes Store for payment. Following confirmation, click the "Next" button to choose a location setting, radius for alerts, and severity level of hazards.
A reminder push notification will appear 7 days prior to expiration of subscriptions, and again the day the subscription is due to expire. If allowed to expire, a confirmation message will be displayed and the app will revert to unsubscribed mode automatically.
Please note that like other mobile app purchases, cancelling a subscription will not result in rebates or credits, but you can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the "Unsubscribe" button in the Account Settings screen.
Users who upgrade to get customizable features may select from subscriptions for 3 months for $2.99, 6 months for $5.99, or 12 months for $9.99. This subscription is valid for all IOS and Android devices. The proceeds from these subscriptions will allow further enhancement of the app.
Prior to offering this service, all Disaster Alert app development was entirely funded by the Pacific Disaster Center, a not-for-profit agency committed to disaster risk reduction. While PDC will gladly continue to support a majority of user requests free of charge, it has instituted this fee-based service to make possible the development of more advanced and complicated features. The goal remains to help improve the public's situational awareness and safety by enhancing access to early warning and other hazard-related information.
Subscriptions will terminate at the end of the agreement period and will not auto-renew.
Once you have a confirmed subscription, location based notifications can be set by going to "Location Settings." In the designated search box, type in the name of the desired location or drag the map to align the center point of the target circle over a preferred location.
After subscribing and choosing a location, you can set the alert radius in miles (mi) or kilometers (km). In the "Set Alert Radius" box, select a desired numerical value to monitor and select preferred units. The location perimeter will adjust to the settings specified and alerts will be adjusted. Be sure to click on "Save." Location can be edited at any time.
With a subscription, users are able to specify hazard severity levels they wish to receive notifications for, in their desired location. Just select a desired minimum level and then receive notifications for that level and up. Levels include Information, Advisories, Watches, and/or Warnings for all hazard types. Be sure to select "Save" to adjust configuration.
Since Disaster Alert is a non-renewing subscription, registration is not required when purchasing a subscription. But, if you would like to access a subscription from multiple iOS and/or Android devices you must register with us so that we can identify your devices. If you initially elected not to register, but would like to do so now, access "Account Settings," (use the "list icon" at the top left corner of the screen) then select "Guest User" to return to the log in screen and register.
To safeguard your subscription services, we highly recommend that you complete the registration process. This will allow us to troubleshoot any issue quickly and provide the service most effectively. Guest (anonymous) user issues are much harder to track because we have little information on the user or the settings. If you are experiencing problems with your subscription, please contact support by using the feedback option in the main menu, and indicate if you are a registered or anonymous user.
Please contact support and advise us of the issue by using the feedback option in the main menu.
After registration, you may also access Disaster Alert to set account defaults and create "bookmarks" that allow you to save and share select layers and map extents.