hypnosec writes "A Twitter-based system managed to detect the earthquake off the Philippines before any other advanced spotting systems being used by Seismologists. The U.S. Geological Survey uses the micro-blogging site to quickly gather information about earthquakes around the globe through the use of a system — Twitter Earthquake Detection (TED) — which beat out USGS's own sensors on Friday when it came to detecting a 7.6 magnitude earthquake off the Philippine coast. The TED system gathers earthquake related messages (Tweets) in real time from Twitter. The system takes into consideration various parameters like place, time, keywords, and photographs of affected places where tremors have been detected. Online information posted by people — Tweets, in this case — can be picked up faster by researchers, compared to scientific alerts that may take up to 20 minutes."