The mission of ANSS is to provide accurate and timely data and information products for seismic events, including their effects on buildings and structures, employing modern monitoring methods and technologies.

This mission serves a basic function of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) , and drives the four basic goals of the planned system:

  1. Establish and maintain an advanced infrastructure for seismic monitoring throughout the United States that operates with high performance standards, gathers critical technical data, and effectively provides information products and services to meet the Nation's needs. An Advanced National Seismic System should consist of modern seismographs, communication networks, data processing centers, and well-trained personnel; such an integrated system would constantly record and analyze seismic data and provide timely and reliable information on earthquakes and other seismic disturbances.
  2. Continuously monitor earthquakes and other seismic disturbances throughout the UnitedStates, including earthquakes that may cause a tsunami or precede a volcanic eruption, with special focus on regions of moderate to high hazard and risk.
  3. Thoroughly measure strong earthquake shaking at ground sites and in buildings and critical structures. Focus should be in urban areas and near major active fault zones to gather greatly needed data and information for reducing earthquake impacts on buildings and structures.
  4. Automatically broadcast information when a significant earthquake occurs, for immediate assessment of its impact. Where feasible, for sites at distance from the epicenter, broadcast an early warning seconds before strong shaking arrives. Provide similar capabilities for automated warning and alert for tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.

To achieve these goals, ANSS will establish nationwide network of over 7000 earthquake sensor systems, serving all areas of the country subject to earthquake hazards and providing dense coverage in 26 at-risk urban areas (see map). Sensors will be located both in the ground and in buildings and other structures.

The system will provide real-time earthquake information for emergency response personnel, provide engineers with information about building and site response to strong shaking, and provide scientists with high-quality data needed to understand earthquake processes and structure and dynamics of the solid earth.