FAQ

  • What is GEM?

    GEM is a global collaborative effort providing tools and resources for transparent assessment of earthquake risk anywhere in the world. By pooling data, knowledge and people, GEM acts as an international forum for collaboration and exchange, and leverages the knowledge of leading experts for the benefit of society.

  • What drives GEM?

    The non-profit and independent GEM Foundation that drives the effort, is funded and governed through a unique public-private partnership. Tools and resources are developed by hundreds of experts on global and local scales and the open-source OpenQuake Platform will from 2014 allow a wide range of stakeholders to work together and improve earthquake risk assessment worldwide.

  • Why was GEM created?

    The impact of earthquakes on society is increasing, yet reliable risk assessment tools and data are out of reach in many areas of the world. Also, there are no global standards that allow us to compare approaches for risk analysis, while recent events have taught us that we need to work together globally to understand earthquake behaviour and consequences better. GEM was created to bridge this critical gap, and hereby support risk awareness and actions that increase resilience.

  • What products and services is GEM (going to be) offering?

    • Global uniform earthquake-related datasets
    • Input models for risk modeling, global and regional, GEM-rated1
    • Maps, indices, graphs and many other hazard and risk projections
    • Methods, Best Practice and Guidelines
    • Knowledge Sharing Apps and Resources
    • Open-Source Software Tools

    The integrated platform OpenQuake will function as a clearinghouse and collaboration environment for most products that we are collaboratively developing. Some resources will become available through the website. Many of these are resources in their own right, but their value increases by being able to combine them inside the platform, in particular since it offers an intuitive environment for visualization of earthquake risk. With release of the first version in 2014 onwards, Stakeholders worldwide will be able to calculate, visualise and investigate earthquake risk, capture new data, to share and improve findings for joint learning and continuous development of the field of earthquake risk assessment.

    For a current and non-exhaustive overview of the products check out the products & services page and learn also when a product becomes available.

     

    1= Based on a set of criteria that will be discussed and agreed upon within GEM’s scientific community

  • How can I use GEM products and services?

    GEM’s stakeholders can use most products in non-commercial/non-profit contexts independently, following the different licenses that apply for the products. For companies that would like to use them in for-profit contexts we propose a strategic partnership that contributes to the sustainability of the effort.

    To understand exactly how you can use our products, please go through the Terms of Use section of our website. For specific questions on licensing, you can write us at licensing@globalquakemodel.org.

  • What activities does GEM carry out?

    Leading experts are collaboratively developing GEM resources through global projects, open-source software development and collaborations across more than 10 regions. Guided by the needs and experiences of governments, companies and citizens at large, they work in continuous interaction with the GEM Foundation and the wider community. Our main activities can thus be summarized as follows:

    • Global projects and working groups for integrative global state-of-the-art science
    • Regional collaboration allowing local experts to leverage tools and best practice created within the scope of GEM, creating or linking up with networks or programmes that collaborate with the GEM Secretariat in development of hazard and risk assessments at local scales
    • Open-source software development creating and deploying the OpenQuake suite of tools and interactive risk assessment platform
    • Coordination of all activitiesasto be able to make sureall output (data, tools, models)are compatible and to be able to integrate them into products and resources with the platform as the wider context
    • Continuous testing and improvement oftools, models and best-practice, in interaction with collaborators across the globe, to make sure that they are of good quality, as well as meet the needs of stakeholders
    • Learning, knowledge exchange and technology transfer by means of the website, workshops, knowledge sharing apps and training sessions to provide our stakeholders with products and skills to leverage on GEM tools and resources
  • What does GEM's roadmap look like?

    GEM is not a one-time project, but an ongoing and growing collaborative effort. Multi-year work programmes set clear priorities and give focus to our mission.

    2009-2014 first phase of GEM:

    • Build up of the collaborative effort
    • Development of all critical elements for risk assessment
    • Release of the OpenQuake platform v1.0 and related tools allowing stakeholders worldwide to work together to assess risk and thereby support risk understanding, awareness, mitigation and management.
    • Main focus is on development of global databases, global best practice and globally applicable tools for risk modeling and risk communication.  

    2014-2018 second phase of GEM

    • Leveraging the OpenQuake platform, supporting a worldwide community to carry out hazard and risk assessment and share their outputs and knowledge through the platform, increasing its value.
    • Release of the OpenQuake platform v2.0 incorporating new science, data and developments
    • Main focus is on regional collaboration, knowledge sharing and technology transfer. 

    Subsequent phases: Through continuous enhancement of the products and services through the global collaborative effort changing the landscape of earthquake risk assessment and risk management.

    2013/2014 is a transition period and we are currently working on a vision document for 2014-2018, which includes broadening of the public-private partnership to create a more sustainable basis for the GEM Foundation and the efforts of GEM.

    See also our roadmap page.

  • How does the GEM Foundation function?

    The GEM Foundation is the legal entity driving the global collaborative GEM effort.

    • The GEM Foundation comprises a Governing Board with representatives from the governmental agencies and private organisations that became a participant and fund the effort. Together with prominent international organisations they guide the initiative. Public and private participants sign multiple-year contracts with the GEM Foundation; with the possibility of renewal.
    • The foundation also engages in other sponsorships and partnerships often through collaborative projects that benefit the effort as well as the partnering organization, either financially or in-kind.   
    • A Scientific Board of renowned experts in their field oversees GEM developments from a scientific/technical point of view and advises the Governing Board.
    • Acting as GEM’s CEO, the Secretary General leads a Secretariat which resides in Pavia, Italy and which is responsible for coordinating and integrating all work being carried out worldwide.
    • A Model Facility and Testing & Evaluation Facility are independent bodies within the foundation. The first carries out all software development and the latter tests and validates models.
    • Operations Managers oversee activities in a number of regions of the world.

    Read more about how GEM is organised, and in further detail how GEM is governed.

  • What are the main (scientific) topics GEM focuses on?

    GEM’s motto is working together to assess risk and we therefore strive to be an international forum for collaboration on all issues related to seismic risk assessment:

    • seismic hazard
    • probabilistic seismic hazard assessment
    • exposure (inventories of buildings and population)
    • physical earthquake vulnerability (of population and structures)
    • physical earthquake risk (loss and damage) assessment
    • socio-economic vulnerability and resilience (of society)
    • integrated earthquake risk assessment (combining physical and socio-economic factors)
    • decision-making support resources for risk management
    • risk communication
    • IT approaches and technologies for (collaborative) risk assessment

    We are clearly focusing on earthquake hazard and risk, but many things we do (can) be used for disaster risk assessment at large, as well for application in other contexts. Tell us about your needs if you are wondering if and how GEM could be of use to you!

  • How is GEM developing the models that are the basis for risk modelling?

    Together with collaborators worldwide we are developing both global ‘uniform’ models, as well as regional models and we are working to feature as many national and regional models in our platform as possible.

    • What we mean with global uniform models, is that they are based on the GEM global homogenised datasets and hence follow as much as possible a uniform strategy. These models can be used for benchmarking of outcomes with regional models, for rough comparisons between countries (for example of estimated losses or socio-economic resilience) and as a basis for learning and joint improvement. They will likely feature much uncertainty and therefore through the platform we will provide access both to a global hazard (PSHA) model and a global risk model, as well as to a set of regional/national models, that we will rate and review. The global models hence incorporate the knowledge and data currently publicly available, and best practice put together by international experts, using GEM tools and will improve over time with contributions from stakeholders worldwide, as they work with the models and as new data and science can be incorporated. By mid 2014 we will collate first versions of the global ‘uniform’ models.
    • In many regions in the world we work with local experts to pull regional knowledge together and develop regional PSHA models - when and where possible with GEM tools - and in some cases also risk models. We are collaborating with renowned institutions worldwide to also incorporate existing national and regional models into the platform, possibly recalculated with GEM tools. Such models should be considered OpenQuake implementations of the model, and not as GEM models. We will review all these models, based on criteria put together by the wider scientific community and then create and grow this 'library' of models in the OpenQuake Platform.
    • Each model is envisaged to be accompanied by information on the development process and the people that developed it, uncertainty treatment, possible testing experiences as well as background reports on methodologies applied. The community from around the globe can also contribute models that will be reviewed and rated, so that we can collaboratively increase the amount of models covering the globe and increase the quality of resulting maps, graphs and other hazard and risk products. 

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