Fitness Tracker Data Shows Who the Bay Area Earthquake Woke Up

Well, here's one cool, unexpected use for all that data your fitness tracker is culling: Jawbone has released a chart showing the spike in wide-awake UP users in the wee hours of Sunday morning, when a 6.0 earthquake shook up the Bay Area from San Francisco to Napa.

Jawbone tracks your sleeping patterns as well as more standard metrics on your fitness and activity levels. That's how the company was able to show VentureBeat's Gregory Ferenstein, who requested the data, how Bay Area snoozers reacted to the major quake at 3AM on Sunday morning. In areas near the epicenter of the quake in Napa, Jawbone reports that 93 percent of users snapped wide awake—that's the blue line above.

But moving further out from the focus of the shaking, the percentage got smaller:

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.

We tend to think of fitness tracking as a self-centered pursuit. But as this analysis proves, it can also lend an incredible amount of data about entire geographic regions, albeit limited to users of a particular device. It's easy to see how, down the road, a population of people all wearing data-transmitting devices could act as a window into what's going on in our world in real-time. [VentureBeat; Jawbone]