"Monitoring of earthquake shaking in buildings is a key to improving building design. Federal buildings are scattered throughout the Nation, and tens of thousands of them, worth an estimated $20 billion, are located in the most hazardous earthquake zones of the United States. By instrumenting a variety of these structures, scientists and engineers can acquire a rich data set on building response in earthquakes. Monitoring the behavior of Federal buildings during strong shaking will help to improve building design and reduce losses in future earthquakes."
U.S. Geological Survey: http://www.usgs.gov/