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News Briefs: December 2021 Topiqs Newsletter


Dec 13, 2021

Nasdaq Risk Modelling for Catastrophes London Market event

On September 16th, Nasdaq featured a video of John Schneider presenting GEM’s open, transparent and collaborative modeling approach, not-for-profit status and global capabilities in earthquake modelling. John also presented models that were already available in Oasis format and the work done to ensure the model results, global maps and the underlying models and databases utilized the best available and publicly accessible information, including from hundreds of local and regional experts.

Watch the video at

More information about GEM models available on the platform at

2nd International Virtual Workshop on Global Seismology & Tectonics

In September, GEM’s Kendra Johnson, Shreyasvi Chandrasekhar and Marco Pagani participated in the 2nd International Virtual Workshop on Global Seismology and Tectonics (IVWGST‐2021). Kendra presented an Introduction to Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis (PSHA) on September 23rd, and Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis (PSHA) input model on September 24th with Shreyasvi. Marco presented an Introduction to the OpenQuake Engine on September 28th.

The lecture sessions aim to impart important information on emergent and impending topics of Seismology and Tectonics, involving case studies from seismically active zones of the world. The Webinar Series, held from 20-30 September 2021 was organized by the Geoscience & Technology Division North East Institute of Science & Technology (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research) Jorhat, Assam, India.

Participants came from diverse geoscience disciplines and institutes across the world, including the United States Geological Survey, Norwegian Seismic Array (NORSAR), National Center for Seismology, Geological Survey of India, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute, CSIR – North East Institute of Science and Technology, University of Bristol, University of Malta, Australian National University, Tohoku University, King Abdullah University, University of Ljubljana, Boston College, Indian Institute of Technology – Guwahati and National Institute of Technology, Agartala, India.

World Conference on Earthquake Engineering (17WCEE)

At the 17th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering (17WCEE) held on September 28th , Vitor Silva presented GEM and participated in the special session on safer and earthquake-resistant housing organized by EERI and IAEE's World Housing Encyclopedia.

The session featured a panel discussion and five other presentations from Svetlana Brzev (Univ of BC), Amit Kumar (AKAH), Manuel A. Lopez Menjivar (Univ de El Salvador), Lars Abrahamczyk (Bauhaus-Univ Weimar) and Dominic Lang (NGI).

EPICentre University College London webinar

On September 25th , GEM's Vitor Silva and Anirudh Rao participated in an EPICentre UCL webinar. They presented the use of rapid earthquake damage evaluation based on earth observation data and machine learning. They concluded that synthetic aperture radar (SAR)-derived damage proxy maps (DPMs) can form a valuable input for a rapid post-earthquake damage assessment framework, and that combining optical-EO imagery and SAR in a workflow could improve prediction accuracy in the future. Watch the recording at

ImageCat Inhance Data Partner Technical webinar

On November 4th, GEM presented an overview of GEM's earthquake hazard and risk models, with a focus on earthquake hazard and risk data that is being made available through Inhance. John Schneider provided a brief introduction to GEM and its collaborative and open approach to building models for the disaster risk reduction community. Marco Pagani described how the global mosaic of hazard models was developed and described the various layers of hazard information that are available. Vitor Silva gave an overview of GEM's global risk model - comprising hazard, exposure and vulnerability layers - and described the exposure and loss information that is available through Inhance.

Watch the recording at

More information at

European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction: How can science and technology help us in better assessing disaster impacts?

On November 26th, Vitor Silva presented the ‘Common terminology for exposure and vulnerability data applied to disaster loss data’ at this year’s virtual European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction. The presentation was part of the topic “How can science and technology help us in better assessing disaster impacts?”. Vitor emphasized that defining a common taxonomy would enhance the standardization and the interoperability of disaster risk reduction datasets avoiding redundant and expensive data collection activities. Vitor further added that this common taxonomy could also be used to collect and store data from past events. The event was held from 24 - 26 November in Matosinhos, Portugal, organised by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia; Portuguese National Authority for Civil Protection; and European Commission Council of Europe.

GEM Governing Board meeting

The GEM Secretariat successfully held the Governing Board meeting on 29 November and from 2-3 December 2021. The meeting, held virtually via Zoom, was highlighted by the presentation of the GEM Strategic Plan and Roadmap to 2030 (more about the Strategic Plan and Roadmap to 2030 in the InFocus section), GEM accomplishments over the last six months and updates from GEM partners and collaborators. The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) also formally awarded the Outstanding Earthquake Spectra Paper for 2020 to GEM during the meeting (more on this story in the Top Story section).

GEM products availability

South Africa and Colombia models on Nasdaq Risk Catastrophe Modelling platform

The GEM Colombia model is based upon GEM’s regional model for South America first developed from 2013 to 2015 within the South America Risk Assessment (SARA) project funded by the Swiss Re Foundation and updated in 2018. This model has been further improved with local information, such as local construction practices, replacement costs and level of enforcement of the seismic regulations.

GEM’s South Africa earthquake risk model was generated using the hazard model for South Africa developed by the South Africa Council for Geoscience as the national hazard model, and for input to South Africa building design regulations. The vulnerability and exposure models and data were developed by GEM and cover the residential, commercial and industrial building stock. The risk model may be used to assess potential financial losses to commercial, industrial and residential buildings due to earthquake ground shaking. For more details, visit

Global Simplified Earthquake Hazard Data on Oasis Hub

GEM’s global simplified earthquake hazard map is now available on Oasis Hub. The Simplified map is a version of the full Global Earthquake Hazard Map intended for applications where quantitative analysis of hazard or risk is not required.

For more details, visit: Download the brochure here.

GEM staff movement

Our heartfelt thanks to Robin Gee for her contributions to GEM and we wish her continued success at Partner Re, where she will liaise with GEM as a GEM sponsor. Robin was a member of the Hazard Team for more than five years. She will be replaced by Manuela Villani as a hazard modeller. Manuela comes to GEM as the earthquake hazard team leader at Arup in London, where she will continue to work on a part time basis. Manuela joined the hazard team in November. Welcome to the family Manuela!

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