What does it mean to send a special “emoji” in an earthquake? When even the slightest second counts, lives can be saved, say geoscientists who have launched an international campaign to create such an icon that will be added to the rest of the standard icon set that is available on any portable digital device in Worldwide.
The scientists from the UK, USA and France who took the initiative are asking each interested person for ideas on how the new emoji should be, which, once agreed, will be submitted for approval to be included in the international coding standard Unicode.
“About one third of the world’s population is likely to be at risk of an earthquake. So we want to be able to communicate the danger in all these regions and in all these different languages and an emoji is a wonderful way to do that, “said one of the campaign leaders, the British seismologist Steven Hicks of the University of Southampton, according to the BBC.
“Emojis can transcend the boundaries of the written language and help transmit more valuable information to people who are likely to have difficulty reading a language,” said Sara McBride of the US Geological Survey.
“You may have only a few seconds to get under a table or otherwise protect yourself, something that can save your life. If you send a text message within the Early Warning System, it may not take much more than an emoji, “Hicks said.
Studies to date have shown that simple imaging of information becomes faster and easier to understand than a text. Also, a seismic emoji sent by users will help reverse seismologists to detect where and when an earthquake occurred.
Today people can write on Twitter in their language messages such as “Was that an earthquake I just felt?” But an international emoji – the closest to an international language – would be more effective and equivalent to a global network of seismographs .
Anyone – in addition to seismologists or graphic designers – may send his proposal for an earthquake-emoji by July 14 at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The image must be in png file with 72×72 pixels.
The four best proposals to be selected by a committee will then be put to an open vote on Twitter via the hashtag #emojiquake to make the winner come out. Already, apart from earthquakes, the possibility of creating a special emoji and floods is being considered.