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Sleuthing From the Internet

Sleuthing from the Internet is a tool inspired by Jeffrey Lewis's post ( on the value of seismic data in detecting "Seismic Source Physics Experiments", or in layman's terms: big booms.

The post discusses the challenges involved in using certain data sources that can suddenly disappear. This project seeks to aggregate relevant sources so as to avoid this unfortunate set of circumstances, and provide automated detection algorithms to alert interested parties of potential interesting events.

Data Sources

Currently data is being culled from the USGS GEOJSON feed, and is scraped from the Iranian Seismological Center and NIED's F-net recent events pages. The frequency of data updates is currently every ten minutes. (details can be found in the scraper at lib/tasks/scheduler.rake).

Note that while we make our data available for export via JSON feeds, especially during this early in the development cycle data may disappear and the types of data we store will likely change. If you find certain types of current data useful, or would like to see other data sources or values, please create and issue in the issue tracker (see below) so we can take this into consideration.

Bugs and Feature Requests

Please use the GitHub issue tracker for this project, found at


Participation from wonks and devs is welcome, either in guidance for features or development work. The canonical repository for the project is on GitHub at


Some quick notes on development. To get your development environment set up, assuming you already have ruby 1.9.x installed, you should just need to run 'bundle install' from this directory, and then run the command in the Procfile to get the local server going.

You should run 'rake db:migrate' to get the database set up.

To create a migration (ie to change the database structure), run the following:

rake db:create_migration NAME=EVENT_NAME

where EVENT_NAME is a descriptive name for the migration. Note that it's understood that this early in the development cycle that migrations may not be practical, and the database may be blown out in favor of a new schema. If you are doing local development work, be cognizant of changes that may necessitate this.

Run the server like so:

bundle exec rackup -p 4567

or whatever port you would like.

In order to run the data collection tasks, simply run the following:

$ bundle exec rake -R lib/tasks update_events

This will collect data from the sources and place it in the database.


This work is issued in the public domain with no license nor any guarantee as to its fitness for any particular task, including its stated purpose or the purpose of picking up women in DC bars.


Aggregating seismic data so you don't have to.



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