GEM TOPIQS Newsletter Issue No.26 March 2022  View this email in your browser

Dear GEM Partners and Friends,
Welcome to GEM’s first TOPIQs newsletter of 2022. While the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic appears to be gradually waning, the war in Ukraine gives us new reasons to be concerned for the safety of Europe and the world as a whole. We hope for a peaceful solution to this crisis as well as for the continued downward trend in Covid deaths. These catastrophes remind us that we must remain vigilant in our combined efforts to better understand and communicate all risks in the hope that such efforts will ultimately result in safer and more resilient communities in the future.

The Top Story for GEM’s first newsletter of 2022 is a partnership between GEM and RMS, which kicked off with a two-hour introductory meeting on March 16th. The partnership aims to further enable insurers, reinsurers, financial services organizations, and the public sector with the most informed view of earthquake risk. More on this in the Top Story section below.

The InFocus section commemorates GEM’s 13th year anniversary with the launch of Atlas 1.0 - a new and easier way of accessing seismic hazard and risk information. The first map to be featured on the platform is the Global Seismic Hazard Map v2019.1. Learn how the platform works in the InFocus section below.
We are happy to announce that Eigenrisk has joined GEM as a distribution partner. The partnership aims to promote and distribute GEM’s global earthquake hazard products through its EigenPrism platform. Welcome to the GEM family!

GEM has released the updated Africa Exposure Model covering the entire continent of Africa. The update features major revision of residential, commercial, and industrial exposure across the continent and projection of exposure for future years (5-year increments from 2020 until 2050). Details on how and where to access the model is described in the article below.

We are happy to report that the USAID-supported TREQ project successfully conducted an earthquake risk awareness training for risk management practitioners at the community level. The training workshops, held on February 18th and 21st in Medellin, Colombia were designed in collaboration with local partners AMVA (Área Metropolitana del Valle de Aburrá), SIATA and EAFIT University.

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.

The OpenQuake development team released a new engine version 3.13 including its complementary tool Integrated Risk Modelling Toolkit (IRMTK) QGIS plugin. 
Lastly, we’ve rounded up some interesting topics in this special edition of the Around the Internet section for your reading pleasure.
We value your opinion so please send us your suggestions and feedback to help us improve our next issues.
Wishing good health and peace to all,

John Schneider
Secretary General
GEM Foundation, Pavia, Italy

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RMS Joins the Global Earthquake Model Foundation

the partnership aims to further enable insurers, reinsurers, financial services organizations, and the public sector with the most informed view of earthquake risk
Full article
RMS, a world leading risk modeling and solutions company, has joined the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation, an international public-private partnership that develops and disseminates open-source earthquake hazard and risk assessment software, models and data. The GEM Foundation collaborates worldwide, building local and organizational capacity toward understanding and managing earthquake risk on a local to global scale. | Read More >>
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GEM Updates
Eigenrisk® adds GEM earthquake modeling resources to its global catastrophe risk management platform

EigenRisk® announced a new agreement with Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation, an international public-private partnership committed to the development of open-source hazard and risk assessment software... | Read more >>
GEM’s updated Africa Exposure model is now available!

The update features major revision of residential, commercial, and industrial exposure across the continent; detailed review of national and regional statistics on construction materials and costs; spatial disaggregation... | Read more >>
The Global Earthquake Model: Achievements and Future Directions

John discussed GEM's contribution to improving the state of knowledge of earthquake risk and the broader objectives of the disaster risk reduction community at Geoscience Australia Public Talks Series 2022... | Read more >>
Global Mosaic of Models - approaches in creating globally consistent earthquake hazard and risk models

Marco Pagani and Anirudh Rao discussed GEM's approach in overcoming the top challenges in creating globally consistent earthquake hazard and risk models. at a recent event organized by EigenRisk on March 9th... | Read more >>
Year in Review: GEM 2021

Despite the ongoing pandemic, the year 2021 proved to be another busy year for GEM, kicking off the year with the release of earthquake models for public application and celebration of a dozen years of GEM’s work... | Read more >>
Raising Earthquake Risk Awareness: TREQ’s community workshops for the general public

The USAID-supported TREQ project successfully conducted an earthquake risk awareness training for risk management practitioners at the community level. The sessions, held on February 18th and 21st in Medellin, Colom... | Read more >>
In Focus
GEM 13th anniversary
Launch of Atlas 1.0 - a new and easier way of accessing seismic hazard and risk information

GEM is proud to commemorate its 13th year anniversary with the launch of Atlas 1.0 - a subscription-based dynamic web portal that allows subscribers to view information in a GIS style map viewer featuring instant display and download of hazard curves, high resolution exposure data and vulnerability curves for any selected point on the map...

Atlas-GSHM website
Atlas-GSHM brochure
News Briefs
OpenQuake online training 
The training was organized by GEM’s hazard and risk teams and was held from January 31st to February 3rd as part of TREQ – a USAID-supported project that started in 2020.

ASCE Lifelines Engineering Conference, Los Angeles, CA 
GEM participated in the event from February 7-11, 2022. The event, with a theme of Understanding, Improving & Operationalizing Hazard Resilience for Lifeline Systems, was organized by ASCE Infrastructure Resilience Division (IRD), in partnership with The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to commemorate 50 years of Lifeline Engineering.

Conference at UCR February 9 
GEM was invited to provide a conference lecture in the University of Costa Rica on the 9th of February. The lecture was entitled Seismic risk in structures, bridges and lifelines: from assessment to mitigation, and focused on introducing the fundamentals of the evaluation of seismic risk, and how its products can be used to mitigate risk in society. Successful examples from the TREQ project were presented to a wide audience that included students and professionals of civil engineering, geology and actuarial sciences.

GEM-GA new agreement for the RAMSEY Project signed
GEM and Geoscience Australia (GA) signed the project agreement for the new
Risk Assessment and Mitigation Study for Earthquakes in the Yilgarn (RAMSEY) project that GA will be leading as a contribution to GEM. GA will be assessing the earthquake vulnerability and resilience of water, power and transportation infrastructure in Western Australia. Mark Edwards, Geoscience Australia representative to the GEM Governing Board and John Schneider, GEM Secretary General signed the RAMSEY project agreement on March 17th in Canberra, Australia.
OpenQuake Engine 3.13

This version enhanced all aspects of the engine. In particular, the capability to run the new European model (ESHM20) and the GEM China model. Please visit the OpenQuake engine page for more details on the recent changes to the engine.

Important note

Before upgrading to the new release, it is recommended to export previous outputs of interest, since exporting an output computed with an older version of the engine may result in an error. Moreover, it is generally not possible to run a risk calculation starting from a hazard computed with an older version.

Users that do not need to stay updated with the latest developments of the engine may remain with version 3.11, which is being supported as a Long-Term Support Release.

How to Support GEM
Get Involved

GEM offers flexible mechanisms to enable potential partners to contribute to its ongoing and future work programs. Partners and collaborators can enter into sponsorships, project partnerships and service agreements, and can select the level of engagement based on their needs and requirements.

Learn more about how to become a sponsor, support GEM projects, work with GEM scientists and engineers on various research initiatives, and donate to all or any of the ongoing GEM programs at:
Publications from GEM, Partners and OQ users
Development of a uniform exposure model for the African continent for use in disaster risk assessment

In this study, Nicole Paul et al. introduce a new exposure model for all African countries using national and global datasets with a uniform approach across the continent, developed for a baseline year (2020) and six future years (2025, 2030, 2035, 2040, 2045, and 2050). Originally derived with subnational statistics, the data is further spatially disaggregated using Earth Observation (EO) data. This refined spatial resolution allows the model to reflect a realistic population distribution within each country and thereby better characterizes the potential risk to natural hazards and allows identification of disaster risk hotspots.

A Building Classification System for Multi-hazard Risk Assessment

Vitor Silva et al. present a new building classification system compatible with multi-hazard risk assessment based on feedback from hundreds of experts who used the GEM Building Taxonomy V2.0 for exposure and risk modeling applications. This improved and expanded taxonomy (named GED4ALL) includes more attributes and several details relevant for buildings exposed to natural hazards beyond earthquakes. The paper is based on the GEM Report, ‘Global Exposure Database for Multi-Hazard Risk Analysis-Multi-hazard Exposure Taxonomy’ (Silva et al, 2018).

Development of a fragility and vulnerability model for global seismic risk analyses
This study by Luis Martins and Vitor Silva, describes the development of an analytical fragility and vulnerability model covering the most common building classes at the global scale. It aims to address the scarcity of fragility and vulnerability models, particularly in the developing world. The study produced nearly 500 functions developed to cover the majority of combinations of construction material, height, lateral load resisting system and seismic design level. This paper is based on the USAID-supported Global Vulnerability Database Project (2018) and GEM USAID Report ‘Enhancing Critical Databases for Earthquake Risk Assessment: Worldwide Active Faults and Building Vulnerability’ (2018).
GEM in the News!
CSaP Podcast Science Advice & Government: Earthquakes

In this episode on science advice and government, host Dr Rob Doubleday discusses how Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and modelling advice were used during the Nepal Earthquake in April 2015. Professor Emily So, an Architectural Engineer and Director of the Cambridge University Centre for Risk in the Built Environment (CURBE), mentions GEM as one of the two international networks of seismologists and engineers that work to standardize the quantification of seismic hazard and risk around the world, and developing ways of changing building practices, improving risk management planning in order to reduce risk.

EigenRisk Adds GEM Earthquake Modeling Resources to its Global Catastrophe Risk Management Platform

Eigenrisk, an independent and award-winning insurance technology firm, has partnered with the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation. The partnership aims to leverage Eigenrisk’s cloud-based data analytics and modelling platform and GEM’s global earthquake hazard and risk datasets to help insurers, re-insurers, brokers and risk managers across the globe manage catastrophe risks by integrating risk analytics into key business processes; and becoming more proactive in all aspects of catastrophe planning, monitoring and response.
Release of the European Seismic Hazard and Risk Models
A media event to launch the first open seismic risk model for Europe and the next-generation seismic hazard model.
28 April 2022 | 10:00 CET
METIS Summer School on Seismic Hazard Analysis
Applications are now being accepted for the METIS Summer School on Seismic Hazard Analysis, to be held at in Pavia (Italy) from 20th to 23rd June 2022.The goal of the school is to introduce the participants to the calculation of probabilistic seismic hazard and to recent methodologies developed in the framework of the METIS project.
Around the Internet
Accelerating Research into Seismic Hazard Analysis and Forecasting
University of Canterbury Professor Brendon Bradley, an award-winning Earthquake Engineering expert and Director of Te Hirangu Rū QuakeCoRE: The New Zealand Centre for Earthquake Resilience, is set to start his project, titled: Accelerating the advent of physics-based ground motion simulation for seismic hazard analysis. His objective is to get to a point where earthquake scientists can provide the same sort of information as a weather forecaster would tell you. Just like a severe weather warning, he added that the aim is to provide the population the same information about severe ground shaking, how it varies locally from city to city and suburbs, and the likely consequence to buildings.

Multi-hazard spatial modeling via ensembles of machine learning and meta-heuristic techniques
This study resulted in the design of a multi-hazard map for three important hazards (earthquakes, floods, and landslides) to identify endangered areas in Kermanshah province located in western Iran using ensemble SWARA-ANFIS-PSO and SWARA-ANFIS-GWO models. The aim is to provide an integrated map as a guide map for multiple natural hazards that can be applied to save human lives and reduce financial losses.

Earthquake models get a big shakeup with clues buried in the San Andreas fault
Our understanding of how the Earth works under the surface is far from complete. To piece that puzzle together, scientists are looking millions of years into the past. What two groups have discovered - published in two papers, one in Science Advances and another in Geology - may help us better know where earthquakes happen.

Seismic ears to the ground
A high precision seismic network is now able to detect about 400 earthquakes every year in Victoria’s Gippsland region, Australia, providing key information to protect people and infrastructure.

Methodologies for Seismic Soil–Structure Interaction Analysis in the Design and Assessment of Nuclear Installations
This publication presents soil-structure interaction (SSI) phenomena and current practices in SSI modelling, simulation methodology and analysis methods for the design and assessment of nuclear installations. It complements IAEA Safety Standards Series No. SSG-67, Seismic Design for Nuclear Installations, and No. NS-G-2.13, Evaluation of Seismic Safety for Existing Nuclear Installations.

Auckland fiber network to be used to study earthquakes
Auckland’s fiber network will play a vital part in earthquake science, with a team of researchers using it to study smaller earthquakes and help detect volcanic activity under the city.

A deep dive into earthquake forecasting
Earthquakes, and the tsunamis they trigger, are a major threat to coastal communities around the world. Now scientists are planting sensors at the bottom of the world’s oceans to help predict catastrophe.

New models assess bridge support repairs after earthquakes
Civil engineers develop a computational modeling strategy to help plan effective repairs to damaged reinforced concrete columns. Their models simulate how columns are likely to respond globally (in terms of base shear and lateral displacement) and locally (with stress and strain) in future earthquakes when using various repair methods.

Shake table test at UC San Diego could change buildings codes for earthquake protection
Building codes will be changing soon, now that a study at UC San Diego found a common steel building column won’t withstand the stress of a strong earthquake.

Buildings designed after 2017 ready to withstand earthquakes: expert
Most of the new government buildings designed after 2017 in Malaysia are ready to withstand earthquakes and prevent them from being damaged or collapsed, says Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s (UTM) Engineering Seismology and Earthquake Engineering Research group leader Prof Ir Dr Azlan Adnan.

Artificial intelligence to be used for inspecting bridges
SwissInspect, a start-up from Swiss technology institute École Polytechnique Fédérale (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland has developed a novel bridge-inspection system that combines structural engineering with drone technology, artificial intelligence and computer vision. SwissInspect is the result of research at Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics Laboratory (EESD) in collaboration with Swiss Data Science Center (SDSC) on the image-based inspection and monitoring of structural elements.

Israel gets new earthquake warning system, sends alert within seconds of 1st tremor
Earthquake experts at the Geological Survey of Israel on Monday unveiled cutting-edge technology capable of sensing the first sign of an earthquake and having the Home Front Command send out an alert within ten seconds. Called TRUAA, and based on a system developed at the University of California at Berkeley, which went live in 2019, the new NIS 45 million ($14 million) national earthquake early warning system puts Israel on par with a small number of other nations such as the US, Taiwan, and Japan.

Earthquake early warning system could save lives in southern Europe
A public earthquake early warning system in Greece and Italy could give people vital seconds' notice of a major earthquake, according to a new study led by University College London (UCL) researchers. Published in Nature Communications, researchers from UCL and the European Centre for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering (EUCENTRE) find that an earthquake early warning system, similar to those used in countries including the U.S. and Japan, could give over 10 seconds of warning time at various locations across Europe.

How to use local knowledge for a green recovery
Sometimes a sustainable solution to earthquake risk can be implemented such as the reconstruction of homes destroyed in the 2005 Kashmir earthquake. The project’s field teams found a solution: the houses which had only suffered minimal damage from the earthquake were built based on a centuries-old technique known as the “Dhaji” timber structure. This traditional building technique – a patchwork-like timber-baton masonry system filled in with mud, stone, and other local materials – has been used since ancient times by cultures worldwide.
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