Monitoring surface deformation in real-time help at planning and protecting infrastructures and populations, manage sensitive production (i.e. SEVESO-type) and mitigate long-term consequences of modifications implemented. We present RT-SHAKE, an algorithm developed to detect ground motions associated with landslides, sub-surface collapses, subsidences, earthquakes or rock falls. RT-SHAKE detects first transient changes in individual GPS time series before investigating for spatial correlation(s) of observations made at neighbouring GPS sites and eventually issue a motion warning. In order to assess our algorithm on fast (seconds to minute), large (from 1cm to meters) and spatially consistent surface motions, we use the 1Hz GEONET GNSS network data of the Tohoku-Oki MW9.0 2011 as a test scenario. We show the delay of detection of seismic wave arrival by GPS records is of ~10 seconds with respect to an identical analysis based on strong-motion data and this time delay depends on the level of the time-variable noise. Nevertheless, based on the analysis of the GPS network noise level and ground motion stochastic model, we show that RT-SHAKE can narrow the range of earthquake magnitude, by setting a lower threshold of detected earthquakes to MW6.5-7, if associated with a real-time automatic earthquake location system.