Integrating Atomic Observations into Evolutionary Models: a Paradigm Change for (Multi-risk) Exposure and Vulnerability Modelling and Post-event Reconnaissance


Risk assessment, irrespective of the natural hazard or hazards of concern, heavily relies upon reliable knowledge about the characteristics of the built-up environment that best relate to its vulnerability. As exposure data collection represents a resource-intensive process, in most large-scale applications, desk studies are carried out. Decreasing the scale of the application, for instance for city-scale or scenario-based impact assessment, more direct information on the building stock is required. This becomes more complicated when multiple hazards need to be considered, which is in fact a fairly common situation.

The increasing quality and decreasing cost of mobile mapping technologies, combined with the flexibility of custom-made, web-based collaborative platforms, allow for a new paradigm in data collection and integration to be developed. On the one hand, more efficient spatial sampling approaches can be applied, leading to the better use of available resources and more actionable information to be collected, while also exploiting ancillary data from alternative technologies, such as remote sensing. On the other hand, a more transparent workflow may be established, that aims at minimizing the subjectivity in the data collection process.

The availability of traceable, reliable “atomic” observations furthermore allows a consistent spatial modelling of exposure and vulnerability information, actively contributing to a better characterisation of the underlying uncertainties. This also provides the necessary feedback for implementing dynamic, incremental models.

Several activities carried out over recent years provide preliminary evidence that support such a paradigm. Operational applications in the field of risk assessment and post-earthquake reconnaissance will be shown and discussed.

About the Speaker

Massimiliano Pittore is a senior scientist at GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ) Potsdam, Germany. He holds a Masters of Physics and a PhD in Informatics and Systems Engineering from the University of Genova, Italy. He joined GFZ in 2010 after a significant experience as a researcher and R&D manager in the high-tech-related private sector. His primary expertise is in seismic vulnerability and risk assessment, remote sensing, image processing, pattern recognition and statistical learning. Since 2011 He has been working on earthquake early warning and rapid response, and coordinates the development of innovative methodologies for the rapid and efficient collection of seismic exposure data for risk assessment, combining remote sensing, mobile mapping, machine learning and geo-statistical modeling. He has undertaken activities (surveys, training, assessment) in Europe, Central Asia, Turkey and South and Central America. Since 2017 he leads the group “Early Warning and Impact forecasting” in the section Seismic Hazard and Risk Dynamics, at GFZ.

Further information

This evening meeting is organised by SECED and chaired by Tiziana Rossetto (UCL). Non-members of the society are welcome to attend. Attendance at this meeting is free. Seats are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Note that this meeting is preceded by the SECED AGM. Tea and biscuits will be served from 5.30pm - 6pm. For further information, please contact Shelly-Ann Russell (tel. 020 7665 2147, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

This event will be broadcast online.

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Event Details

Event Date 25/04/2018 6:30 pm
Institution of Civil Engineers
1 Great George Street Westminster, London SW1P 3AA United Kingdom
Institution of Civil Engineers

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