GeoNet’s remote monitoring capability during the COVID pandemic

Published: Thu Sep 9 2021 1:00 PM

Last year we shared how we were continuing to monitor New Zealand’s geohazards through the pandemic. We thought it would be good to share this again.

Our capability and commitment to continuously monitor New Zealand’s geohazards is unaffected – even in these uncertain times of changing COVID alert levels. We’ll continue to publish data on our website and app, and we will update you on social media of any significant events or changes.

The GeoNet network of instruments continuously feeds data back to us to monitor geohazard activity in New Zealand. So while this pandemic is affecting lots of activities here in New Zealand and around the world, our teams continue to monitor earthquakes, volcanic activity, landslides and tsunami round the clock.

In 2018, GNS Science opened the 24/7 National Geohazards Monitoring Centre (NGMC) to help keep an eye on New Zealand’s geological hazards.

This is an essential service and has been designed to operate continuously in the most challenging of circumstances.

The centre does this by:

• Putting additional measures in place to ensure the health and safety of the staff working in the centre, including minimising interactions with non-essential personnel.

• Having the ability to monitor from multiple locations. In the rare event that it is not possible for us to be physically located in the NGMC, we can monitor the network from one of our other sites in New Zealand. We also have an arrangement with Geoscience Australia to monitor our network on our behalf remotely.

• Being supported by specialist geohazard science teams who can work from anywhere.

• Analysing data from the GeoNet network of over 700 stations. This allows us to remotely measure and locate earthquakes, monitor volcanoes by measuring gas flux, volcanic tremor and crater lake temperature and level, record ground movement by GPS, and understand coastal sea level changes among other monitoring methods, including satellite remote sensing.

• Using the cloud. Data from GeoNet instruments is processed in the cloud and made available there also, enabling our staff to analyse them from anywhere.

Our teams are focused on providing you with geohazard information on the GeoNet website around the clock. Should a geohazard event happen in New Zealand, rest assured that our teams are able to respond and get information out in the usual ways: website, social media and the GeoNet app.

For information on the pandemic, follow the Government’s official COVID-19 website. From all of us at GNS Science, take care during this uncertain time.