Commission Grantee UCSD/SIO HPWREN

Leveraging a Network for Multi-hazard Monitoring and Warning


In 2000 the National Science Foundation funded the Supercomputer Center at UCSD to deploy HPWREN, the High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network. This network provides network support for cameras and sensors in the field on a wireless system spanning San Diego County and beyond, enabling seismic, acoustic, weather, and fire monitoring via a mix of sensors and cameras. Video and weather from the network is available in near real time at and seismic data is available at The network currently covers most of San Diego County and much of Imperial County and has extensions into Riverside County. It has wireless backbone speeds up to 200+ megabits per second, fast enough for high-definition 4K video.

This mix of seismic, weather, and fire monitoring technologies mirrors that provided by the Seismology Lab at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), ( and researchers from UNR and UCSD/SIO have partnered for years on improving technologies that can help save lives. In fact, the UNR system in Lake Tahoe and Nevada has been credited with the early detection of more than 300 fires in the region over the past two years.

These two teams have pioneered the use of robust radio networks for multi-hazard monitoring.  Leveraging the high fixed cost of the towers and radio equipment to support earthquake, fire, and other risks lowers the cost for each of the different warning systems and enables larger, and more resilient, systems to be deployed. Given the recent wildfires in California and our investment in separate seismic and fire warning systems, it is a good model to consider for the State.