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Risk Reduction

We are committed to supporting decisions of governmental agencies, international and non-governmental organisations on risk  from earthquakes, as follows:

1. Specific tools for risk understanding and management

There will be two different versions of the OpenQuake risk assessment platform. An Expert suite is mainly meant for professionals and organisations with technical expertise, whereas the Essentials suite is focused towards stakeholders that are in need of clear information and hands-on tools to support risk understanding and decisions. Users of both suites will however be connected through the OpenQuake user-network to facilitate sharing or risk information and knowledge exchange.

2. Reaching beyond risk communication

The OpenQuake platform will integrate viewing of data, maps and statistics put together by renowned experts, with the option to use tools that allow a user to combine data, explore and understand risk, capture and contribute new data. Users will be able to develop custom maps with the data of their interest related to historical earthquakes, faults, geodetic strain, exposure of people and buildings, damage of past earthquakes, with tools to collect building data for use inside the platform and/or to enhance GEM datasets, and with tools that support decision-making, in particular on retrofitting.

3. Compatibility with existing tools

We are working to ensure that the platform, tools and data-formats are compatible with those being used by the disaster risk management community. The OpenQuake platform allows users to work in an intuitive GIS-environment. Users will be able to view and export data in a variety of formats that are compatible with OCG standards (from csv to images to geotiffs and google earth kml files). The platform is based on the open-source Geonode framework, which is used by more and more disaster risk initiatives worldwide.

4. Collaboration with technical experts

Reliable risk management and mitigation requires reliable seismic hazard and risk information. Because GEM is a global initiative, information can be used initially mainly on a national and in some cases sub-national level, whilst it is being enhanced through collaboration and crowd-sourcing. For more specialized and detailed local hazard and risk assessments, you would need to collaborate with local technical experts, who can choose to use the OpenQuake Expert suite for custom, local assessment. A growing group of technical experts in countries around the globe is using the OpenQuake tools for advanced assessment, supported by tutorials and trainings carried out by the secretariat our partners to enhance local capacity. Users of the Essential suite can work together with experts from government agencies, universities or technical consultants in their area, and can connect with technical users through the OpenQuake user-network.

5.  Actionable information and tools

For planning, risk and emergency management it is important to understand how different buildings (schools, hospitals) are affected in case of an earthquake, how many people are likely to be injured or could lose their life, what the damage is to roads and other critical infrastructure. Because GEM works on a global level, we will not have all that data in V1 of the platform. Data on injuries, loss and life and typologies of buildings (masonry, adobe, concrete) are already included, and all databases are built to store the other types of data. Through the capture tools and individuals datasets that you and other users worldwide can submit to GEM will we collectively be able to capture ever more of this data, especially on local scales, for more informed decision-making.

6. Working together with disaster risk agencies and initiatives worldwide

Working together with our public and private members

The GEM Foundation consists of a growing group of public and private participants who decide on the strategy of the foundation and guide the wider GEM effort. Representatives on GEM’s Governing Board have either a responsibility in producing seismic hazard and risk information, or in managing and financing risk, or they support capacity building for risk resilience around the globe. All bring their needs and experience to the table, deciding together on effective steps and activities that are in the interests of their stakeholders.

Working together with international agencies

Both through a the associate participants of the GEM Foundation which include the Worldbank and OECD and through separate collaborations, such as with the Global Assessment Report and EERI, GEM links up with the needs and networks of international organisations and the stakeholders they represent, supporting them where possible.

7. Promoting risk mitigation

 Online resources and information

We will dedicate sections of the website to risk mitigation and management. One section collects stories of how the OpenQuake platform and tools and the risk information disseminated through it are being used around the globe, and serves as best practice and inspiration for others. Another part of the website will feature information about earthquake hazard and risk and easy to understand maps and plots that can be used without accessing the OpenQuake platform.

Participating in international events and fora

GEM collaborators are active participants in the international debate on risk assessment and risk resilience. As the first effort of this sort that leverages global science for the benefit of society, we are keen on discussing our efforts and on learning how we can improve to serve needs even better.

Get involved

If you are working in the field of DRM there are number of ways in which you can get involved in GEM before v1 of the OpenQuake platform is released (end 2014), and contribute to making GEM outputs serve you best.

  • National agencies can become a public participant in the GEM Foundation and guide the GEM effort, bringing their needs and knowledge to the table.
  • Collaborate with GEM’s global projects on data collection, in particular on building stock and population for the global exposure database, following the guidelines they are producing.
  • Encourage the technical experts you work with to get familiar with GEM tools, such as the OpenQuake Engine

Write us if you have other ideas of how you think you can collaborate with the GEM effort. And of course we invite you to follow us.