GEM was formed in 2009 as a non-profit foundation in Pavia, Italy, funded through a public-private sponsorship with the vision to create a world that is resilient to earthquakes. GEM is funded by public and private institutions globally, and is advised by many international organizations (https://www.globalquakemodel.org/partners).
GEM is also recognized by the UN as an NGO, operating under UN guidelines for a humanitarian organization. GEM’s mission is to become one of the world’s most complete sources of risk resources and a globally accepted standard for earthquake risk assessment. Further, GEM aims to ensure that its products are applied broadly in disaster risk management/reduction and its services are available and accessible to public, private and academic institutions worldwide.
GEM is now broadening its range of products and services for the benefit of the disaster risk management and reduction community. Open and free distribution of data, models and tools will continue to be at the core of GEM’s work, and GEM will further strengthen its efforts to increase their availability and accessibility.
The objective of the GEM Products and Services Strategy is to continue to make information freely and openly available; while at the same time assuring the sustainability of the organization. Moving forward, GEM will leverage its capabilities, tools, and data to broaden its range of products and services in order to better meet the demands of data and model providers and users, and the DRR community in general.
As part of this strategy, GEM will soon be offering value-added products for a fee, which aims to address primarily the needs of risk financing/insurance and infrastructure/engineering sectors for products such as risk models for developing countries that can readily be used to tailor-fit risk financing solutions and building/infrastructure risk reduction measures.
Value-added products will also be available for free for public-good, non-commercial applications. In turn, the revenue generated from product fees will be reinvested to maintain GEM’s core capabilities, with an emphasis on providing support to developing countries.
This page is based on GEM’s Products and Services Strategy, which has been unanimously approved by the GEM Governing Board (June 19, 2020).
Historically, public and private sectors have had different responsibilities e.g. hazard monitoring has been the domain of public institutions, while risk transfer via insurance has been provided mainly by the private sector.
GEM’s work over the past 10 years has accelerated the merging of these two sectors to work together to fully assess risk and incorporate risk-based decisions into planning and sustainable development.
Although GEM has been continuously and generously supported by public and private institutions for more than a decade, the development of new open products and services to meet the existing and future needs of the DRR community requires additional support and funding.
GEM is committed to supporting the Sendai Framework for DRR and the Sustainable Development Goals, which call for the application of risk models and development of risk information for a wide range of DRR and development applications. GEM is uniquely positioned to provide products and services to both public and private sectors ranging from insurance and corporate asset risk management to early warning systems, post disaster relief and recovery, and disaster reduction policies to facilitate risk reduction.
In line with GEM’s non-profit and humanitarian ethos, GEM is introducing products for a fee by:
partnering with and/or seeking approval of organizations responsible for developing official national hazard or risk models;
making all for-a-fee products freely available for non-commercial, public-good application;
developing for-a-fee products as value-added products only, targeted to meet demand of private-sector interests such as: insurance, risk financing or engineering consulting services; and
offering for-a-fee products through third party organizations that offer marketing and commercialization services (such as online support and commercial licensing).
GEM will continue to maintain and develop products and services aimed at its core collaborators and partners in the science, engineering and risk modelling and analysis community, including:
earthquake hazard databases and catalogs;
vulnerability and exposure databases and models;
OpenQuake suite of software and analysis tools; and
earthquake hazard and risk models and maps.
GEM will also develop value-added or enhanced products and services for a wider range of potential users in the risk management and DRR sector, as well as for public interest, including:
risk models for financial risk management;
products aimed at users of hazard and risk information; and
tools for visualizing and comparing the results of hazard and risk analyses.
Together, these products are expected to be used for a variety of purposes such as:
education and training;
response planning and warning systems;
risk transfer/insurance, including parametric solutions;
expansion of risk metrics such as for Sendai Framework monitoring.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
This section provides detailed information on how to access GEM’s Open products (Part A) and For-a-fee products (Part B), including how to access these products for free*. GEM’s full list of products and services including those that are made available for a fee may be accessed here soon. This section also contains specific explanations of the most common questions about GEM’s products and services.
A.1 Where can I find and download the full list of GEM’s open products?
A complete list of products is coming soon and will be available on our website.
A.2 What are GEM’s top or flagship open products?
A.3 Why does GEM develop open products?
GEM develops open products to make high-quality scientific products in earthquake hazard and risk analysis readily available for public good. Most high-caliber software or data are closed or very expensive. To break this barrier, GEM develops open products in order to promote access to and sharing of information, to promote collaboration and transparency, and, thereby build trust among partners and the public.
A.4 What is an open product, and how does GEM define open?
An open product is a digital or technology-based product that is free of cost but is governed by specific conditions of use. An open product can be a software (open source code), a scientific publication (open access) or a database (open data).
The GEM Foundation distributes open-source software and open data. With limited exceptions, intellectual products by the GEM Foundation are released with open licenses, such as the Free Software Foundation licenses for software and the Creative Commons licenses for creative contents, datasets and models. You can check the full details here.
A.5 What license types govern GEM’s open products? Can I use GEM’s open products for commercial purposes?
Most of GEM’s data and many hazard and risk models are released under a CC BY-SA license. These products may be used commercially provided any distribution of derived products is attributed to GEM (BY = by attribution) and they are redistributed with the same (SA = share-alike) license.
GEM’s OQ software is released under an AGPL license, which also has no commercial restrictions, and derived products may only be distributed under the same open license.
If the license is CC BY-NC-SA, in addition, the product or its derivatives may not be used commercially.
In some cases, GEM has opted instead to restrict use of products further by making them available for use under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and also forbidding commercial use.
A.6 In return, what does GEM expect from users after downloading and using an open product?
Users must comply with GEM’s license terms, and are requested to:
Respond to user surveys to provide feedback to GEM on the use and impact of the product
Share with GEM publications or information on the application of the product or the impact of its use in risk management.
A.7 Why do we ask people to sign an NDA if we are promoting open data and models?
GEM uses an NDA to make commercial products available to those that have a non-commercial, public-good application or purpose. Some products are made available for commercial application for a fee in order to provide sustainable revenue to GEM Foundation for product improvements and maintenance, including for open products.
B. For-a-fee Products
B.1 Why is GEM offering products for a fee?
GEM offers some products for a fee to generate additional income to further support the development of free and open products. All products that will be made available for a fee will also be available for non-commercial, public-good applications (i.e. academic, government or humanitarian projects, etc.) by request to the GEM Secretariat (see related questions below).
B.2 What products are being offered for a fee?
A complete list of products is coming soon and will be available on our website.
B.3 How will GEM use the income from products made available for a fee?
Revenue generated from for-a-fee products and services will be reinvested in public good activities with particular emphasis on developing countries.
The income will be used for the development and maintenance of the following:
maintenance and improvement of analysis tools and databases for application to risk assessment, with particular attention to areas where risk information is lacking or inaccessible.
Tools for dissemination of risk information for downstream application to risk management in the public sector
Improvement of risk models, with particular attention to developing countries with significant earthquake risk;
Training and education for capacity development that contributes to national hazard and risk assessments, improved risk management and risk reduction activities in line with Sendai Framework and Sustainable development Goals.
B.4 Can developing commercial risk models for insurance or other financial risk products be considered in GEM’s interest as an organization devoted to public benefit?
Insurance is recognized in the UN’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction as an important component of a comprehensive risk management strategy. Insurance protection from earthquakes is often available only in progressive areas such as California, USA and Tokyo, Japan because of lack of reliable risk models in developing and high seismic risk countries. GEM primarily develops high-quality and scientifically robust risk models for this market to address the protection gap.
B.5 Who is the intended market for GEM’s products for a fee?
For-a-fee products will represent value-added products only, targeted to meet demand of private-sector interests such as: insurance, risk financing or engineering consulting services.
B.6 How will GEM market these products and services?
GEM will not engage in direct marketing of for-a-fee products. GEM will offer products through third party organizations that offer marketing and commercialization services (such as online support and commercial licensing). However, bespoke products will be available from GEM.
B.7 I’m a government officer and working on a DRR project. How can I get a product for-a-fee at no cost?
If you’re a government officer, follow the steps in question no. 2. When you click the download button, indicate in the Purpose box, For public use, and fill in the funder/supporter and beneficiary boxes. Then click the send request button. GEM Secretariat will contact you for further evaluation of your request, and the next steps.
B.8 I am an academic conducting research on earthquake hazard and risk in my country. How can I get a product for-a-fee at no cost?
If you’re a student, researcher or professor, follow the steps in question no. 2. When you click the download button, indicate in the Purpose box, For academic use, and fill in the funder/supporter and beneficiary boxes. Then click the send request button. GEM Secretariat will contact you for further evaluation of your request, and the next steps.
B.9 We’re a humanitarian organization in the field of DRR. Can we get a product for-a-fee at no cost?
Yes, GEM works with international NGOs in the DRR sector. To get a for-a-fee product at no cost, follow the steps in question no. 2. When you click the download button, indicate in the Purpose box, For public use or For non-commercial use, and fill in the funder/supporter and beneficiary boxes. Then click the send request button. GEM Secretariat will contact you for further evaluation of your request, and the next steps.
*Products and services for a fee can be made available by request to the GEM Secretariat for non-commercial use, government projects, for humanitarian purposes, etc. Refer to the FAQ section for more details.