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Sep 8 / Dave Schumaker

Seismometer – An Application for Your iPhone

Earlier this week, I was browsing through the list of recently added applications on Apple’s App Store when a small little icon caught my eye. It was for a new program called Seismometer.

Basically, this application uses the iPhone’s (or iPod Touch’s) built in accelerometer to display a seismogram onscreen that shows real-time data.

While it’s an interesting program in concept, it isn’t very useful. For one, the iPhone’s accelerometer is way too noisy to get any clean data back. The following screen shot was taken when the iPhone was sitting flat on my desk (and no, there weren’t any earthquakes going on this time!).

Secondly, as far as I can tell, it uses some sort of funky combination of the X, Y and Z axises to produce the data on screen. While I agree that it simplifies things (especially with the relatively small viewing screen available on the iPhone), it’d be nice to have the option to view movement on just one particular axis. (A program for Apple laptops that uses their accelorametors called Seismac does this. We briefly mentioned it before in this article.)

The last concern I have with it is that it only shows the most recent 5 seconds of data on screen at any one time. It’d be nice to be able to see more data. The needle takes up a large majority of the screen.

iPhone Application - Seismometer

This application was originally free when I downloaded it, but as of today they are charging 99 cents for it. Relatively cheap in the scheme of things, but for something with a fairly limited utility, I don’t think I can justify the price. It’s more of a novelty item for people interested in geology and geophysics.

That said, the developer did say they will be releasing an updated version shortly with new features and improvements based on user feedback. They believe the 99 cent price will justify this. Stay tuned to find out!

[This review details Seismometer 1.0 – An application for the iPhone/iPod touch originally released on August 28th, 2008]

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