Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mapping the Zone: Improving Flood Map Accuracy

FEMA and NOAA asked the National Research Council to examine the factors that affect flood map accuracy; assess the costs and benefits of producing more accurate maps; and recommend ways to improve mapping, communication, and management of flood-related data. The report Mapping the Zone: Improving Flood Map Accuracy concludes significant loss of life, destroyed property and businesses, and repairs to infrastructure could be avoided by replacing FEMA flood maps with ones that contain high-accuracy and high-resolution land surface elevation data. The benefits of more accurate flood maps will outweigh the costs, mainly because insurance premiums and building restrictions would better match the actual flood risks. Coastal region flood maps could also be improved by updating current models and using two-dimensional storm surge and wave models.



Sunday, January 25, 2009

Southern California San Andreas Overdue?

New research by University of California Irvine scientists shows the southern stretch of the San Andreas fault has had a major temblor about every 137 years (previous studies indicated a 200 yr cycle). The last major earthquake in the Carrizo Plain section of the San Andreas was the 7.9 magnitude Fort Tejon event of 1857. READ MORE


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Global Earthquake Model: The Open Platform Initiative to Understand Earthquake Risk

RiskMarketNews has posted a podcast with Dr. Ross Stein from USGS regarding his work on the Global Earthquake Model and why it’s important to the insurance industry and the development of insurance-linked securities. MORE

Does anybody know how or if HAZUS-MH plays in the Global Earthquake Model initiative, please comment ?


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

HAZUS-MH in Morgan County Indiana

The Morgan County Indiana Hazard Mitigation Steering Committee has selected the Polis Center at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis to use HAZUS-MH to develop the county's disaster mitigation plan. READ MORE


Monday, January 19, 2009

HAZUS on a MAC !!!

Phil McCormick from the Riverside City Fire Department reports ... we were finally able to get HAZUS working on the MACs for the Grad students. So far, here is what we found and have done:

DESKTOP with Windows XP, full-version of Office Suite, HAZUS MR3 and a full version ARCGIS 9.3 via a network

Increased the memory to 4GB, upgraded to a 500GB harddrive, and doubled the standard Windows partition. It ran OK until we added the HAZUS patches and then it didn’t work well, so we reloaded it without the patches and it seems to be working fine with HAZUS. It is a little slower then my Dell laptop, but not that much.

MacBook Pro with Windows XP, student -version of Office Suite, HAZUS MR3 and a stand alone student version ARCGIS 9.3

Increased the memory to 4GB, kept the 320GB harddrive, and doubled the standard Windows partition. The Student version of ARCGIS doesn’t come with all of the files needed to run HAZUS so they are upgrading her to a single use license of 9.3. It appears as though it will run quite a bit slower then my Dell laptop.

Neither platform seems to want to work with CDMS. Our IT and the University computer folks are still playing with both systems to see what they can do.

This activity is part of a joint program with the City of Riverside and UC Riverside to use HAZUS-MH to do an assessment of the schools campus.

HAZUS.org is following this development ... as things evolve we will follow this thread on the HAZUS.org Technical Blog

UPDATE: Since we are getting some comments on this thread I thought I'd move it to the top again. Also check out the latest Status Report on the release of HAZUS-MH MR4

Email Comment: Kevin Mickey from the Polis Center commented via email - "This is just a reminder that neither HAZUS or CDMS is certified with ArcGIS 9.3 at this time. HAZUS will be ArcGIS 9.3 compatible with the release of MR3 Patch 3 which should be out in the next few weeks. CDMS will be ArcGIS 9.3 compatible with the release of CDMS 2.5 and HAZUS MR4 which should both come out sometime in the March/April/May timeframe."


Friday, January 16, 2009

Losses in 2008 seem to have taken the industry and catastrophe models by surprise.

A spike in severe thunderstorms -- coupled with the greater-than-expected losses from Hurricane Ike -- made 2008 a costly year for U.S. property/casualty insurers and challenged the modelers. READ MORE

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Contributions of Earthquake Engineering

A recent report by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) lays out the contributions of earthquake engineering that enhance public safety and improve the protection of U.S. communities from hazards beyond earthquakes. Four categories of earthquake engineering were reviewed that identify major contributions and present representative examples: planning, advanced technologies, emergency response, and community engagement. DOWNLOAD (.pdf, large file 12MB)

The contribution of HAZUS-MH is "only" addressed in the "Planning for Catastrophes" section, ignoring that HAZUS-MH is a recent advanced and evolving geospatial technology and has significant applications in earthquake response and community engagement.

FYI ... The EERI-WSSPC Annual meeting is February 11-14, 2009 in Salt Lake City, Utah - Earthquake Risk Reduction / Are Voluntary Actions the Key? MORE INFO

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A Proposal for National Economic Recovery - An Investment in Geospatial Information Infrastructure - Building a National GIS

Agencies have been laying the foundation for national GIS for years. It falls within umbrella terms like Imagery for the Nation, The National Map, the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, and the pioneering work of the U.S. Geological Survey, Census Bureau, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture, and Interior, among others. It is supported by technical studies from the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC), the National Research Council, the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), and the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC). Now is the time to pull them together. READ MORE


The Changing Geospatial Landscape

In January of 2008, the Secretary of the Interior formed the National Geospatial Advisory Committee to provide advice and recommendations related to the management of Federal and national geospatial programs. This diverse committee is comprised of 28 experts from all levels of government, academia and the private sector.

In January 2009 the committee published a white paper - The Changing Geospatial Landscape - to describe the changes and advancements the community has witnessed over the past three-plus decades and to set a context from which in part we will base our future deliberations. DOWNLOAD


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cascading Disasters: /How Disasters Unfold

What: National Academies Disasters Roundtable workshop:
Cascading Disasters / How Disasters Unfold

When: Thursday, February, 26th, 2009 at the Beckman Center in Irvine, CA



Friday, January 2, 2009

USGS Shake Map HAZUS Format

Did you know that one of the Shakemap Product Formats that USGS provides after an earthquake is the "HAZUS ZIP File" ... READ MORE

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Should the Military Be Called in for Natural Disasters?

The December 31, 2008 issue of Time.com has an interesting article concerning the policy issues involved in using the military in response to disasters in the U.S.

Currently plans are by 2011 the Department of Defense plans will have 20,000 uniformed troops expressly trained to assist in national disaster rapid response at a moment's notice. These are regular military "combat units" not state National Guard units. READ MORE

OPINION - Why is this of interest to the HAZUS user community

As the military gets more integrated into the disaster management community they will become a big HAZUS-MH user. The military and the related Intelligence Community can also be providers of "tactical" remote sensing data that can be used in HAZUS driven response and recovery activities. For example, the implementation of the DHS National Applications Office continues to be stalled because of Congressional concerns over privacy and civil liberties. As the principal interface between the Intelligence Community and the Civil Applications communities, the DHS National Applications Office is intended to provide more robust access to needed remote sensing information.