Officials from both countries held a news conference in Pasadena Wednesday.
They want to upgrade a monitoring system in Southern California and Northern Baja.
The U.S. will provide new sensors and computers, plus the training that goes with them.
The U.S. is contributing $500,000 for the expanded quake monitoring network, which should be in operation next year. The Mexican government is including funding in its $50-million program to create an integrated national earthquake system, said Doug Given, Southern California seismic network coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Last year a 7.2 earthquake rocked the Calexico-Mexicali area, causing widespread damage and two fatalities.
Emergency planners were unable to determine where to send help in the early stages after the Easter Sunday 2010 quake that was centered south of Mexicali and killed two people in Mexico, said Roberto Quaas Weppen, director general of the Mexican National Center for Prevention of Disasters.
The lack of backup systems also made it impossible to share that data when the Internet and communications went down. Under the new program, scientists from both countries will be better able to share data on earthquake hazards, officials said.
Thursday at 10:20 a.m., people across California are encouraged to take part in a massive earthquake-readiness drill.
More than 8 million Californians are expected to participate in the 2011 edition of "The Great California ShakeOut."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.