Business

How today’s earthquake woke up half the Bay Area, in one chart

Like many in the Bay Area, the magnitude 6.0 earthquake woke me up in the middle of the night. So, I asked the good folks at Jawbone to pull some data for me on just how this earthquake affected the sleeping patterns of Silicon Valley. Here’s what they returned.

Sure enough, not only did the earthquake wreak havoc on the historic Napa Valley, but it left an entire city more sleepy the next day.

Jawbone also pulled some statistics on how many people stayed up the whole night:

“Napa, Sonoma, Vallejo, and Fairfield were less than 15 miles from the epicenter. Almost all (93%) of the UP wearers in these cities suddenly woke up at 3:20AM when the quake struck. Farther from the epicenter, the impact was weaker and more people slept through the shaking. In San Francisco and Oakland, slightly more than half (55%) woke up. As we look even farther, the effect becomes progressively weaker — almost no UP wearers in Modesto and Santa Cruz (and others between 75 and 100 miles from the epicenter) were woken up by the earthquake, according to UP data.”

Why this is more than eye candy

This is the power of big data. The more we learn about people’s movements, sleeping patterns, and habits, the more we can quantify important events. Of course, waking up at 3am is nothing compared to the tragic damage that many Napa Valley residents faced this morning. But, in a natural disaster, cities often ask for financial aid from state and federal governments.

Had this earthquake happened during a weekday, it might be reasonable to ask for additional federal aid to make up for the economic productivity loss for a day’s worth of grogginess.

Additionally, some health tech companies are already beginning to analyze disease patterns from the way people move around during the day. After the earthquake, Jawbone would be able to analyze patterns that could indicate higher bouts of depression. In this case, health officials could buy ads alerting people in the area on how to get help for mental health issues.

The more we know about people’s behavior, the more public and private agencies can help.


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28 comments
Peter Scott
Peter Scott

He knows if you've been sleeping... he knows if you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good...

Victor Fang
Victor Fang

I was a freaking data point in this chart too.

Amit Zantye
Amit Zantye

Why do people in Santa Cruz and Modesto go to bed earlier than rest of the Bay Area on the weekend...?

Rolf Rander Næss
Rolf Rander Næss

Much more interesting if they can find some dataset which predicts the next earthquake...

d0x360
d0x360

@deantak you need to start your own gaming journalism site. We need a real place for news. An honest place. You're the guy.

ATA, LLC
ATA, LLC

Cool stuff! Checkout what ATA, LLC has been doing in the awesome world of big data too!

Daniel M Sossaman II
Daniel M Sossaman II

If you need to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to answer the question "do people wake up durning an earthquake", then I have some prime land in central Florida i would like you to consider buying.

Sofie Graham
Sofie Graham

Julián but they are segmenting by distance from the quake, not by units of alcohol consumed.

Varun K
Varun K

I wonder how big the dataset is when it comes to people who own a jawbone device in these regions, several thousands ? 

Andrew Alvarez
Andrew Alvarez

Energizer&Duracell are gonna have HUGE quarterly gains.

Casey Ellis
Casey Ellis

updated for parents with kids under 5yo

Lu Estes
Lu Estes

Rachel Ibarra fascinating stats.

Justin Buck
Justin Buck

Might as well ask for the next couple days' data to see about lingering effects.

Raymond Krein
Raymond Krein

Why the $!# would I want a company track when I woke up or not.. yeah big data is awesomely scary.

Wendy Sue Buckleman
Wendy Sue Buckleman

I don't know if it was chance or maybe that precursor wave they talk about using in prediction, but I was awakened just before the earthquake so I was conscious to it here in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Then it was off to http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/ to see what happened. Then to internet news to see who knew what and to spread around important reports on facebook. I was up for a while but I slept better when the main report I could find was from a fire chief saying they had lost the fish in their toppled fish tank.