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.

 Seismic design

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 structuresuniform 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?

  • There is no national model for the country I am interested in. Should I use a regional or global model?

  • Disaggregation plots for the intensity measure type and return period I need are not available. How can I get these?

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?

  • What sort of hazard and risk analyses can I run with the OpenQuake-engine?

  • How can I be sure the OpenQuake-engine is giving the right results?

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?

  • What is the level of expertise required to use these tools for building data collection?

  • How much time does it take to cover a large amount of buildings with the Android tool?


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:



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