Working together to assess risk: a paradigm shift

As the first GEM Working Programme 2009-2013 draws to a close, marking also the end of the mandate of GEM Secretary-General Rui Pinho, it is both reassuring and inspiring to look at the journey that the GEM Foundation, together with its partners and the global community, has made over the past five years.

Pinho is humbled by the quality, quantity and value of the knowledge, data and science that has been developed by the GEM global collaborative effort in a relatively short period of time. “The opportunities we have right now to combine science and technology are unprecedented. Yet, the disasters and the human tragedy we have faced in recent years have shocked us and left us with a sense of helplessness that seems hard to overcome”, said Pinho.
What Pinho describes is bittersweet: while we develop cutting-edge tools, the divide in access to solutions that could mitigate seismic risk and save the lives of millions is broad, despite the efforts of the international community. However, he truly believes GEM is in a unique position to address and bridge that gap between science and risk reduction. Read more

Enhancing Partnerships

GEM success relies on the contribution of partners, stakeholders and a global community working across disciplines and geographies. This community can now count on the support and commitment of two new Advisor Sponsors: OYO Corporation and ARUP.
"By combining our global engineering expertise with the seismological and financial aspects of the model, we will help GEM quantify the benefits of risk mitigation, help create financial incentives for earthquake resiliency, and thus save lives and protect communities."
Andy Thompson, ARUP Global lead for catastrophe risk management
Read more.
"This is truly a win-win partnership, GEM and OYO share the mission and commitment to a safer and more secure world, where geohazards can be mitigated and communities can flourish."
Masaru Narita, President of OYO Corporation 
Read more.

GEM data products, what's new? 

On 5th November 2013, the ISC-GEM Global Instrumental Earthquake Catalogue and Supplementary Catalogue Version 1.04, was released under a new Creative Commons license, removing the non-commercial clause that had been included in previous versions. With this change, GEM hopes to further increase the use of this important product.

ISC-GEM Global Instrumental Earthquake Catalogue (1900-2009)

More on GEM data licensing 

GEM believes in open data, i.e. data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone. GEM also believes that all data providers and creators should be attributed (“attribution”) and redistribution of modifications to the data should be made under the same terms as the original license (“share-alike”). Find out more about open data here.
In line with the above, GEM generally releases its data products under the terms of Creative Commons licenses, with an explicit inclusion of database and copyright-like rights.

For the first 18 months, GEM data products are released with a non-commercial  clause (i.e.Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported), and then after 18 months they are re-released without this clause.

However, at any time, the GEM Foundation may grant a personal, non-commercial clause waiver over a specific GEM data product; requests for this waiver may be submitted through a dedicated form.

To learn more on GEM Licensing policy click here or write 

Call for applications

Communications and Outreach officer 

GEM is looking for a Communications and Outreach officer to work with and support GEM's international team of scientists and partners on developing and maintaining GEM's communication tools and resources, and strengthening GEM outreach globally. 

The successful candidate will be fluent in English (mother tongue or a demonstrated professional proficiency) and have:
  • 3-5 years of experience in communications and outreach in an international context
  • Familiarity with content management systems and web 2.0 tools
  • Creative skills: being able to translate concepts and information into visuals, working with our graphic designer, experience with developing concepts for brochures, presentations, infographs 
  • Experience with editorial process or publishing (desirable)
  • Media/press experience (desirable)
Read more for the full job description.

Support Services Manager 

GEM is looking for a part-time Support Services Manager with a minimum of 10 years of management experience administering human resources and supervising staff, including familiarity with non-profit administration in an international context.

The successful candidate will be fluent in English and Italian and have:
  • University-level degree in Human Resources management, industrial relations, organisational development or business, or a related field.
  • Demonstrated experience, knowledge, and competence in the management and administration of Human Resources, usually associated with 5 to 7 years of increasing level of human resource management responsibility.
  • Demonstrated experience in effective supervision and development of staff, including familiarity with Italian employment administration and law.
  • Demonstrated ability to make sound judgments requiring confidentiality, tact, and diplomacy in dealing with a variety of personalities and situations.
  • Successful track record of establishing credibility and trust with diverse stakeholders, including various levels of management.
Read more for the full job description.

Upcoming events

February 17-19, 2014, Pavia, Italy
OpenQuake-Engine Hazard Training Workshop
June 30 - July 4, 2014, University College London, UK
The Understanding Risk 2014 Forum
July 21-25, 2014, Anchorage, Alaska
Tenth U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Frontiers of Earthquake Engineering

August 24-29, 2014, Istanbul, Turkey
2nd European Conference on Earthquake Engineering and Seismology (ECEES): a joint event of European Association of Earthquake Engineering (EAEE) and European Seismological Commission (ESC)

News from the Regions


Together for a comprehensive seismic risk model for Taiwan

In recent years, GEM has been collaborating with Taiwan Earthquake Model (TEM) in the development of the new Taiwan seismic hazard model. The visit to the GEM offices by Dr Chung-Han Chan of TEM provided an excellent opportunity to continue building on the GEM-TEM collaboration. The primary objective of the visit was to study the new Taiwan seismic hazard model and provided also a suitable forum for knowledge exchange on the usage and new features of OpenQuake engine and the Hazard Modelling Tools. Read more.

GEM South America integrated Risk Assessment (SARA) project


On December 4th-5th, GEM in collaboration with the Servicio Geológico Colombiano (Colombian Geological Survey, Bogota) organized the initial meeting of the hazard component of SARA. The meeting was attended by almost 30 scientists from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. 

The first one and a half day focused on presenting the state-of-the-art on different subjects such as:
  • active fault mapping,
  • the subduction process along the western coast,
  • earthquake catalogue compilation,
  • GPS and strain rate modelling,and
  • GMPE selection for hazard analysis.
The last part of the meeting focused on appraising the current state-of-art in probabilistic hazard analysis in the region and on discussing ideas about the new regional model that will be developed within the next two years within SARA.

On 16 December 2013, GEM old and new partners and supporters met at the Vallombrosa Retreat Center, Menlo Park, California, for the GEM Progress 2013, a unique opportunity to share and discuss the latest findings in earthquake risk assessment and risk mitigation, developed by GEM. 
Among the highlights of the event:
  • OpenQuake Platform – Toward the November 2014 Public Launch
  • Database of Building Exposure – Report from the Global Component Consortium
  • Physical Vulnerability – Report from the Global Component Consortium
  • Integrated Risk – Social Vulnerability and Resilience
  • Discussion Sessions on:
    • Earthquake Consequences Database 
    • Inventory Data Capture Tools 
    • Regional Public Engagement 
    • Global Earthquake Activity Rate GEAR model 
  • Regional Program Spotlight – Earthquake Model for Central Asia (EMCA)

Beyond Physical Risk: Understanding Vulnerability and Resilience

For the next Understanding Risk 2014 Forum GEM is preparing a special panel session:
Beyond Physical Risk: Understanding Vulnerability and Resilience.

Among the topics for discussion: 
  • Integrated risk assessment: state-of-the-art methodologies, indicators, and tools for evaluating and benchmarking socio-economic characteristics and integrate such evaluations into physical risk assessments to achieve a holistic view of risk;
  • Stakeholders’ perspectives: understanding and responding to the needs of stakeholders for a holistic view of risk, to inform actions and policies in risk reduction;
  • Towards implementation: real examples of the application of such metrics and tools, including challenges and opportunities, for decision-making and the development of risk management policies.

Thank you All!

The GEM Foundation thanks all its staff, partners and the global community contributing to the GEM collaborative effort, for the hard work and continued support throughout 2013.

“We have come a long way but many miles lie ahead, only by keeping on working together across industries, disciplines and geographies, can we assess and mitigate risk, and increase communities' resilience to earthquakes."

Season's Greetings
Best Wishes for 2014!

Contact us
GEM Foundation  |  Via Ferrata 1, 27100 Pavia, Italy  |  +39-0382-5169865

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