When four earthquakes of magnitudes ranging from 4.9 to 7.2 rattled the West Coast in June, Marcia McLaren, a seismologist with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), was better prepared than she was a year and a half ago, when a 6.5 magnitude quake shook the San Simeon region. In the first disaster, the utility\u2019s sites and networks weren\u2019t damaged, but that took awhile to determine, as McLaren and her team made dozens of calls to managers in the field.\n\nAfter that experience, McLaren installed ShakeCast, a service launched last year by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which provides companies with real-time earthquake data that they can use for damage assessment. Within minutes of an earthquake, ShakeCast collects ground-shaking data from underground sensors and produces a ShakeMap, which displays the distribution of shaking intensity in the areas affected by the quake. From there, the ShakeMap is sent to participating companies. Companies can also sign up to receive damage estimates. (For more about ShakeCast, visit www.earthquake.usgs.gov.) Now, when an earthquake with a magnitude of at least 3.5 hits anywhere in PG&E\u2019s service area (which occurs almost monthly), McLaren receives a pager message and an e-mail from USGS giving her details about the quake. She then retrieves her color-coded ShakeMap that shows where different magnitudes of shaking occurred. An internal PG&E application overlays a map of the utility\u2019s facilities, telling McLaren which ones may have been affected. With this information, she can prioritize which managers to contact and what procedures must be followed.The June earthquakes occurred too far away from PG&E\u2019s service area to cause any damage to company facilities. Meanwhile, McLaren has demonstrated ShakeCast to company executives, showing them how they can use the service to make disaster recovery decisions more quickly and corral the costs of future earthquake damage.