The 10th U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering, organized by EERI in Anchorage for July 21-25, will host a GEM special session where experts will have the chance to showcase the OpenQuake-platform and its possible future applications for the field of engineering.
The Special Session will demonstrate how the OpenQuake-platform and related resources can be used to calculate, visualize and investigate earthquake risk, capture new data and share findings, as a basis for increasing risk awareness and resilience to earthquakes.
We want to communicate the following three core messages at Anchorage, and we welcome any comment or question on our Facebook and Twitter pages. On GEM SlideShare channel you can learn more about our presentations.
You can also find below some related FAQs.
The OpenQuake-platform will host a number of national, regional and global models of seismic hazard and will provide users with a set of pre-computed results from these models, including outputs that are of interest to engineers when designing structures: uniform hazard spectra and disaggregation plots at different return periods.
Engineers will be able to download the hazard results they need in a number of different formats. Details on each of the available models will be provided in order to guide engineers in selecting the model that is most "fit for purpose".
Users will be able to zoom in to hazard maps, and click on any point to get the hazard curve at that location.
Will GEM provide a single global model of hazard for use by engineers in any country in the world?
When the OpenQuake-platform is released at the end of 2014, it will not include a single view of global hazard, but will instead host a collection of models at different scales (local, national, regional, global). These models will serve different needs. Globally and regionally consistent models will probably be of most use for those that need to make comparisons of the hazard (and risk) between different countries, whereas local and national hazard models will serve better engineers that need input for the design of structures. It is noted, however, that the hazard results on the platform should not be intended to replace existing national design regulations and seismic provisions, which must be obeyed for the design and construction of buildings.
There is no national model for the country I am interested in. Should I use a regional or global model?
Global and regional models are unlikely to be appropriate for use in the design of individual structures. Nevertheless, the details of each model hosted on the platform will be available to users so that they can understand the choices made in the development of the models, and thus make informed decisions about which is most appropriate for their use. GEM is currently working with many national institutions that are developing new hazard models, and thus the number of available models on the platform will continue to grow. Users are also encouraged to inform GEM about any potential national model that could be added to the platform.
Disaggregation plots for the intensity measure type and return period I need are not available. How can I get these?
Users of the platform will be able to run their own calculations of hazard using the OpenQuake-engine. By modifying the configuration of the calculation, it will be possible to calculate additional results which have not been pre-computed and stored on the OpenQuake-platform.
Loss assessment from local to national
The OpenQuake-engine can implement hazard and risk analyses for single scenarios, allowing the modeler to identify the potential losses from an individual earthquake, or it can undertake a probabilistic analysis of hazard and risk, telling the modeler the likelihood of observing a specific level of ground shaking and/or earthquake loss within a given time. It is even possible to use the OpenQuake-engine to calculate the benefit-cost ratio of retrofitting one or more buildings in order to mitigate the potential earthquake risk.
Analysis can be undertaken for a specific site, for a city or regional scale analysis and even at country or multi-national level. These functionalities combine to make the OpenQuake-engine a powerful and dynamic tool for investigating the potential impacts of earthquakes in your region.
How do I obtain a copy of the OpenQuake-engine?
The OpenQuake-engine is currently packaged for the Ubuntu Linux software platform and can be installed directly from the Ubuntu package manager. Alternatively, you may wish to test the engine on a server without installing on your own computer by using the OpenQuake Alpha Testing Service (OATS).
What sort of hazard and risk analyses can I run with the OpenQuake-engine?
Many different types of hazard and risk calculations are available in the OpenQuake-engine. These include probabilistic seismic hazard and risk analysis using the conventional Cornell-McGuire approach as well as via the use of stochastic earthquake event sets. It is also possible to model the ground-shaking hazard for single scenario events, including spatial correlation of the ground motions residuals, in order to estimate the potential economic losses, building damage and fatalities from individual earthquakes.
How can I be sure the OpenQuake-engine is giving the right results?
The engine is created with a rigorous testing and quality assurance process, in line with open-source standards. A comprehensive test suite, designed to check every part of the software, has been created in conjunction with the main code itself to ensure correctness and consistency. The hazard software is also verified against benchmark hazard calculations compiled by independent analysis. The source code of the software is open and available via our Github repository, permitting the wider user community to inspect and verify the calculations.
Modeling exposure in hand
The Inventory Data Capture Tools developed within one of GEM’s global components are empowering users to collect information regarding the built-up environment, which is fundamental to the development of exposure models. These tools include a QGIS plugin (named BREC) for satellite data processing, or Windows and Android applications to collect information building-by-building.
Recently, as part of the Risk Analysis course at the Understanding and Managing Extremes School in Pavia (Italy), a group of 40 students employed the Android tool to create a detailed exposure model of downtown Pavia, which was used together with a hazard and vulnerability model to estimate average annual economic losses. These models were also developed or collected within regional partnerships, and the calculations were carried out using the OpenQuake-engine, the open-source software for seismic hazard and risk analysis.
Will the tools be available for everyone?
The complete suite of tools have been released in December 2013, and can already be downloaded from the GEM website. Their source code has been uploaded into a public repository at GitHub, and therefore users can modify the current version of the tools according to their specific needs.
What is the level of expertise required to use these tools for building data collection?
The level of expertise varies with each tool. The QGIS plugin (BREC) requires advanced knowledge on satellite imagery processing, whilst the Windows and Android tools are simpler applications, which can be employed by users with a basic knowledge on architecture or structural engineering. Nevertheless, GEM has made available several technical reports and videos with detailed explanations of how to use the various tools.
How much time does it take to cover a large amount of buildings with the Android tool?
Assuming that users are already familiar with the GEM building taxonomy and the Inventory Data Capture Tools, characterizing a single building should not take more than 2 minutes. It is important to mention that the same building class may be found several times within a given region, and for these cases the tool offers the possibility of using a previously inserted classification, which makes the collection process more efficient.
Considering that the 10th US National Conference on Earthquake Engineering is a well-known forum where earthquake engineers, engineering seismologists, risk modelers and risk reduction experts gather every four years to share ideas and best practices, it constituted an ideal audience for GEM to present its tools and models, and in particular to seek new collaborations in this part of the world.
During the event GEM scientists had the chance to engage in conversations with various groups of participants; of particular relevance were the discussions held with US practitioners and local experts, the discussions carried out with engineers from Nepal, and the liaisons with the World Housing Encyclopedia initiative.
Particularly rewarding was the GEM Special Session where, in addition to GEM Secretariat staff, experts from institutions such as the United States Geological Survey, Cambridge University and the Institute for Advanced Study in Pavia (UME School) described some of the GEM products, their applicability in risk assessment, and how they will be publically accessible through the OpenQuake-platform from 2015 onwards. The following presentation gives an overview on the OpenQuake components and highlights those functions of interest to the engineering sector:
Discover more presentations on GEM SlideShare channel.