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GEM News Briefs: Jan-Mar 2023


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During this period, GEM scientists have also participated in various international virtual conferences and events on loss models, earthquake risk assessment, and global challenges in earthquake risk and catastrophe modelling. Here's a round-up of GEM's other notable activities over the past three months.

GEM celebrates 14th year anniversary

On March 9th, 2009, the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation was incorporated in Pavia, Italy as a non-profit organization, giving the Foundation a legal identity with a vision of a world that is resilient to #earthquakes (and other natural hazards).

Over the past three years (from April 16, 2020 to April 17, 2023), public and private risk professionals, researchers and managers have downloaded a variety of free resources 8,427 times from the GEM website to better understand and mitigate earthquake risk. The list is topped by the Global Seismic Hazard map v2018.1 (1,124), the OpenQuake Engine (1,002) and the Global Seismic Risk map (492). Since GEM started tracking the downloads in 2019, visitors have downloaded various resources for a total of 12.6K.

In celebration of GEM@14, here are the other most popular resources from our website and we’d like to invite you to download them from our products and publications at and


NERC renews GEM sponsorship

The United Kingdom through the National Environmental Research Council (NERC) has signed a new agreement as GEM Public Sponsor. NERC will continue to support GEM through 2025. Within the new sponsorship agreement, GEM’s engagement with the COMET project will also continue. The renewed partnership also brings GEM, COMET, the UK science community, as well as all those vulnerable to earthquakes globally to work together to achieve a common vision: earthquake resilience through the advancement of earthquake science.


Towards New Frontiers of Earthquake Model Development – How collaboration helps manage earthquake risk across the world (Catrisk management and modelling summit held in London from March 7-9, 2023)

Recently, GEM participated in the 10th Annual Cat Risk Management and Modelling Summit held in London. John Schneider of GEM and Goran Trendafiloski of Aon Impact Forecasting led the interactive roundtable discussion: Towards New Frontiers of Earthquake Model Development – How collaboration helps manage earthquake risk across the world. 

The discussion highlighted the collaboration between GEM, Aon Impact Forecasting and NRCan in developing a new model that combines the latest seismic hazard model for Canada, implemented by NRCan natively in GEM’s OpenQuake engine, with Impact Forecasting’s enhancements for secondary perils, including liquefaction, landslides, tsunami and fire following earthquake. Furthermore, the discussion also focused on the importance of building partnerships between public and private organizations to collaborate on the reduction of disaster risk worldwide.  

John and Andres Abarca, GEM Product Developer, also met current and prospective collaborators at the event and discussed GEM’s available earthquake data sets and risk models.


NIED workshop on Japan earthquake hazard in Tohoku

Marco Pagani and John Schneider (virtually) participated in the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience (NIED) workshop on Japan earthquake hazard in Tohoku on February 10th, 2023 held in Tokyo, Japan. John presented an overview of GEM, its scientific and operational framework, earthquake models, databases and tools, and future programs. Marco presented GEM’s current efforts to update GEMs earthquake hazard mosaic of models, with a particular focus on GEM’s collaboration with NIED..

Following the workshop, John and Paul Henshaw, GEM Director of Technology and Development met a contingent from NIED in Pavia, Italy in March led by Hayashi Haruo who served as NIED President from April 2016 to March 2023. Hayashi-san expressed confidence in NIED’s commitment to continuing its work with GEM as part of the strengthening international collaboration and shift toward multi-hazard risk assessment research.  NIED recently submitted a 5-year proposal to the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) for the renewal of its science program, including sponsorship of GEM.

A presentation on NIED and GEM partnership by Dr. Hiroyuki Fujiwara, Director-General of Research Center for Reinforcement of Resilient Function at the Tohoku hazard workshop.


GEM and Swiss Re collaboration to build a Global EarthquakE ScEnario database or GEESE

The project supported by SwissRe aims at building a database containing the information required to perform a scenario hazard and risk analysis for every earthquake included in the ISC-GEM catalog (the acronym used for this database is GEESE which stands for Global EarthquakE ScEnario). This semester we started compiling the information and the tools required to build the database. This includes tools for automatically retrieving information from the USGS Shakemap database and for uploading this information into a dedicated database.

GEM Earthquake Consequences Database

The GEM Risk team developed an Earthquake Consequences Database, which contains a wealth of information on several recent earthquakes, both in terms of the geophysical descriptions of the earthquake and its effects on the human environment. The GEM Hazard team created tools for this purpose to parse and display ruptures suitable for modeling in OpenQuake from data created by external sources (such as the USGS). The database will be launched in June.

Asian Development Bank – Mongolia project

As part of a project with Willis Towers Watson (WTW) on “Strengthening Capacity on Disaster Risk Assessment, Reduction, and Transfer Instruments in Mongolia”, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Risk Team significantly improved the exposure model for Mongolia. The residential exposure is now based on the latest population and housing census of Mongolia, undertaken in 2020. The housing census provides information about the different types of housing, wall and roofing materials, the age profile of the housing stock and its current condition. The primary data source for modelling the commercial and industrial exposure was the 2016 establishment census of Mongolia, supplemented by updated establishment counts for the year 2020 per economic activity type, by region, aimag (provinces), soum (secondary subdivision) and the capital city of Ulaanbaatar.

Global Resilience Index Initiative (GRII)

Within the framework of the Global Resilience Index Initiative (GRII), GEM developed global maps of populations exposed to earthquakes and coastal/riverine floods. These maps have been integrated into the Global Systemic Risk Assessment Tool (G-SRAT), which is the data and analytics portal for the GRII, and launched at the COP-27 conference last November. You can access G-SRAT portal and the various datasets here:

Global vulnerability database

GEM created a dedicated website to host the documentation for the global vulnerability model. The documentation is accessible through the URL and is currently subdivided into six main chapters covering the multiple stages of vulnerability modelling. With this development, the plan is to improve the transparency of this component and ensure our partners comprehend how the vulnerability functions were developed.


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