Natural Hazards

, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 1765–1781 | Cite as

Civilian monitoring video records for earthquake intensity: a potentially unbiased online information source of macro-seismology

Original Paper


We collected and analyzed 68 civilian monitoring videos recording the scenes of the May 12, 2008, Wenchuan earthquake. These video recordings are shared online by volunteers after the earthquake. Intensity was estimated by visual inspection of the playback video recordings. Comparing to traditional media accounts, these video records have the distinctive unbiased feature in obtaining local intensity due to their dynamic and repeatable nature. We argue that with proper guidance for providing the necessary information of the location and time when sharing these data online, civilian monitoring videos are potentially more and more useful in the citizen-powered macro-seismology.


Civilian monitoring video The 2008 Wenchuan earthquake Intensity Media bias Public understanding 



Thanks are to the numerous anonymous volunteers who shared their video records online. This work is to much extent initiated by the NSFC project 40674018. We thank Xia Min, Peng Hanshu, Li Yingchun, and Jiang Changsheng for help in the work, thank the anonymous referees for suggestions for improving the manuscript, and thank Walter D. Mooney for suggestion to note the cell phone camera.

Supplementary material

11069_2012_447_MOESM1_ESM.docx (10 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 9 kb) (483.4 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (ZIP 495035 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of GeophysicsChina Earthquake AdministrationBeijingChina
  2. 2.Earthquake Administration of Shaanxi ProvinceXi’anChina

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