Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Felt it : Placenames, typos and AWOL reports

We get lots of felt reports for our earthquakes, which is great, but we often have to go though and fix them when they turn up in odd places. (Which is fine but we get people emailing in, worried about the reports being in the wrong spots).

We had a few emails about this earthquake on the right, in this case the suburb was 'Golden Bay' which is at the top of the South Island close to the earthquake, but there is another 'Golden Bay' on Stewart Island, this felt report is obviously on the wrong island!

The problem comes when filling out the 'Felt It' report form. Now after an earthquake you can feel quite shaken up, but if we can limit the incorrect addresses we can stop reports going AWOL!

 This is the beginning of the form where you put your name and address, if you hover over the ? on the form it tells you why we want this information - and it's not Big brother or spy agencies! To see how and where an earthquake has traveled / damage etc. we need to know where you are.

The tricky bit seems to be putting in addresses , now we do have a few double-ups in place names here in wee New Zealand, some places added in 'North' to make it easier: 
Havelock  :  Havelock North
Palmerston  :  Palmerston North
Waimate  :  Waimate North

But others didn't:
Waikawa, Marlborough  :  Waikawa, Southland
Manaia, South Taranaki  :  Manaia, Coromandel 
 And that's just the towns, there are lots of doubled up suburbs! 

So here are a few things to help the system know where you are: 
* Put your address/suburb/town etc. in the the separate boxes, not all on one line. 
* Don't abbreviate Nth, Chch etc. it gets really confused with these! 
* Watch your spelling
Our form has dropdown menus too, so when you start to type you will get some options to choose from.

And we do always aim to make this process quicker and easier, exciting things to come later in the year!


The rest of the AWOL felt reports are from people who clicked on the wrong quake, or they thought they felt it and it was a truck going past or strong wind (or a dream..)


  1. Why do you have to manually check outliers when you could perform geospatial analysis? You also could use the official place name gazetteer as published by LINZ to check similar place names in a felt report and again perform geospatial analysis on the various combinations of outliers.

    1. Thank Julian, It can be tricky with some earthquakes such as deep North Island subduction zone events, where the quake is felt very far but only on the East of the Island.