Archive for the ‘Software’ Tag

Earth Alerts 2011

Earth Alerts 2011, the free software that gives you an overall view of the weather events in the world around you.

Several years ago, I was sitting at my desk in the IT department working on some computer issue that I can’t remember anything about when the building began to shake. That I remember.  I turned to my boss and he turned to me.  We stared at each other, coming to the same conclusion.  A large truck must have just hit the building.  We ran to the windows, but saw nothing, no truck, no damage.  Then it occurred to us, earthquake.  After all, we do live in Southern California.

In the next few hours, as the local news stations declare a 4.5+ shaker just south of the California-Mexican border, I am searching the Internet for a software package that can give us info on earthquakes.  What I found was much better.

Earth Alerts; an easy to use, free Windows based software application that gives you information on the weather conditions  and natural hazards around the world or in your neck of the woods, in almost real-time.  In fact, I have received emails from my copy of the Earth Alerts just minutes after I felt the quake. This is not to mention all the other information I get from the software.

How it works, at least basically.  Once installed and running on your computer or server, Earth Alerts checks with various websites and other online resources, collecting information and data on weather conditions and natural events, including  Severe Weather, Tropical Cyclones, Tsunamis, Volcanoes, Wildland Fires, and of course Earthquakes.  After setting up your locations, on the main screen you will have three location overviews, Global, United States, and your local area.  You will also be able to add more locations, both locally and globally.  After your first update, you will start seeing events for each of the overviews. Besides your local weather, other natural hazard events will be available for viewing.

What is really cool is the ability to configure Earth Alerts to send emails and MMS messages, including maps of the locations affected by the event.  You can set the desktop application to message you at different event levels, say you only want to receive emails when earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or larger occur, or Tropical Cyclones of Category 3 or above.  You can have these messages sent to your smart phone and get your updates on the road.

For the messaging feature, you will need to have an SMTP Outgoing Mail Server and a sending email address as a username, though it is not necessary for the desktop application to continue functioning and gather the event data, only for sending messages.  I created an email specifically for this using one of the several my Internet provider allots me and use their SMTP server settings to configure the messaging feature, you can also use a Gmail address and Google’s SMTP ability.   Additionally, I have Earth Alerts installed on my server, which runs 24/7, so I never have any down time and never miss an alert.  Also, I have created a Windows Live Groups email so that anyone in the group can receive the alerts, as you can only configure the software to send to one email address.  Google also has the ability to create groups as well. The only drawback that I’ve found is the software does not work behind a proxy and needs to have direct access to the Internet.

Unfortunately, this software does not give you advanced warning to earthquakes, only Mother Nature has that information, but it does give you advanced watches, warnings, and advisories with other natural hazard events, allowing you to monitor the situation of storms, tornados, and tsunamis which makes it a very useful tool in your toolbox.

Earth Alerts is Freeware, however, I urge you to donate to the creator if you find it as wonderful a program and asset as I do.  Download your copy and find the system requirements at the link below.

http://earthalerts.manyjourneys.com/

Also, check out the Google Maps version of Earth Alerts.  It’s very cool.

http://earthalerts.manyjourneys.com/web/

Posted November 18, 2011 by Scott in Software

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