Wednesday, 23 April 2014

myVolcano erupts online... by Julia Crummy

The new BGS app, myVolcano, was released into the Apple Store on 7th April in collaboration with our American friends at the Smithsonian Institute.  It had 224 downloads in the first week, and has featured all over twitter!  The app enables people to explore the volcanoes of the world on their phones through an interactive map.  By zooming into different areas and clicking on the volcano icon, people can learn about its past eruptions and facts about the volcano itself such as the type of volcano, the types of eruptions and rock type.
 
myVolcano also enables people to photograph and record observations of ash fall during an eruption,  for example ash covering their car windscreen.  In 2010 and 2011 ash fell across parts of the UK which came from the Icelandic volcanoes, Eyjafjallajökull and Grímsvötn. In 2011 BGS put out a request for ash samples, and we got almost 200 samples sent in to us!  Through myVolcano people can now take photographs and measurements which are logged straight into a database giving scientists up-to-date information on the distribution of ash across the UK.  With the release of the app, we are better prepared for the next eruption!

Get myVolcano here
We are currently developing version 2, which will have features such as: a volcano compass so users can find their nearest volcano; more information layers on the map such as the location of volcano observatories and the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAACs), which release information on the dispersal of ash; push notifications so that we can send messages and information to users; and a video upload function.  Version 2 will be released in March 2015.  An Android version of the app is also in the pipeline.  We are also looking to build collaborations with other organisations so that the app can be used in other countries.

If you have any feedback please get in touch through the app (click on the About tag) or the webpage. Or you can tweet @myVolcano_team or the Volcanology team @BGSvolcanology, we're always happy to know how you're using myVolcano and what your favourite feature is. Thanks to everyone who has already got in touch, it's great to read, share and respond to your comments.
 
 
 Julia Crummy, BGS Volcanologist

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