The GEM Foundation completed an online survey of 83 OpenQuake users from 32 countries in December 2020. The aim of the survey was to understand the way users currently use OpenQuake, and to use the feedback as input for product development and for improving overall user experience.
To date, the OpenQuake engine - GEM’s state-of-the-art, open source software for seismic hazard and risk analysis - has been cited in peer-reviewed publications for earthquake hazard and risk studies in 16 regions and 58 countries. No doubt, the actual number of studies is far greater.
What were the Key takeaways from the OpenQuake survey
Overall, OpenQuake is rated as the best open source software for both earthquake hazard and risk analysis by most of the respondents.
The OpenQuake engine is mostly used for hazard analysis purposes (2:1 ratio against risk), and current features that were rated high were mostly related to hazard. However, these could be a limitation of the survey i.e. depends on who participated.
The expertise level of most OpenQuake users responding was mainly in the beginner to intermediate range. Most beginner users found it not user friendly, which is not surprising given the complexity of the analysis process and the level of knowledge required to use the software effectively. This result suggests there is an opportunity for GEM to expand its training activities in the future, and potentially get additional income from this service.
Future improvements pointed out by the users focused mainly on thorough documentation including all configuration parameters, while in terms of future development, the preference (64%) is to further develop OpenQuake’s hazard and risk modelling capabilities with additional tool kits for developing the required input models (e.g. source model, ground motion selection, exposure model, vulnerability model), testing, visualization, and extended toolkits.
Feedback from the respondents
Overall, about 70% of the respondents gave high satisfaction ratings for OpenQuake. Below are some of the positive feedback from the users. (see gallery image: Overall OQ Engine Rating)
“Thank you for your great work. There is always a lot that can be done, but OQ is already an awesomely useful tool.”
“In general, it is an amazing tool and I really enjoy working with it and all the support I have received from the team.”
“Lots of great improvements are being made with each release and sometimes it is hard to keep up without having insider knowledge! I don't know what the solution is - the What's New is very well done, but I suppose I feel it is not always translated to the manual?”
“Having started to work with OQ only recently, I personally have to say that I value all of your development and I appreciate your great support and help while setting things up (more technical stuff, really). Good product, good work. Thank you!”
“I really appreciate the collaborative nature of the GEM Development Team. I find they are excellent at responding to queries both in a timely manner but also with good detail. Keep up the great work!”
In 2021 the plan is to revamp the GEM website’s Products download system and incorporate an automated email invitation to provide feedback after 1-2 months after the download. The feedback form will also be modified to make it shorter and more aligned with GEM’s: short- and long-term plans for the OpenQuake Engine; and with customer support and satisfaction. If you have ideas for how to improve OpenQuake or want more information, please send an email to or join the OpenQuake Users Forum.
We also love to hear about how you have used OpenQuake in your research or in hazard or risk assessment applications. Send us your publications and reports at email@example.com and we will be happy to promote them through our newsletter and website.