Tech’s Role Grows in Understanding, Recovering from Earthquakes

During a two-day forum in Sacramento, Calif., experts gathered to discuss where technology can be leveraged before and after earthquakes.

by Dennis Noone, Techwire / February 27, 2018
Shutterstock

(TNS) — Experts from government, academia and industry gathered last week in Sacramento to discuss technology’s role in reducing residential damage caused by earthquakes.

The forum was hosted by the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), a not-for-profit, privately funded, publicly managed organization that provides residential earthquake insurance and works to prevent earthquake damage. This year’s event — “Innovation in Earthquake Risk Assessment: How Technology is Changing the Industry” — was the organization’s second annual gathering, and it focused on:

  • Measuring ground motion and building performance.
  • Developing resources and tools to help improve structural deficiencies in houses.
  • Characterizing damage after an earthquake.
  • Creating immersive and interactive tools that can help educate people about earthquakes and drive them to take action.

“Technology has significantly increased our understanding of how the earth’s surface moves in both real time and geologic time,” said CEA Chief Mitigation Officer and Research Director Janiele Maffei. “We now have more data — from satellites, sensors and ongoing research studies — to help inform seismic building codes and to inform engineers on how to retrofit existing residential structures more effectively. CEA is fortunate to have access to California’s leading scientists and engineers for ongoing research results that may help support future CEA programs to further reduce earthquake losses.”

Panelists discussed the latest tools used to evaluate how buildings might withstand an earthquake, such as CEA’s new app called QuakeGrade.

“When earthquakes strike, the damage they may cause can be expensive to repair,” said CEA CEO Glenn Pomeroy. “Research and technology play pivotal roles for us when working to help Californians reduce their risk for earthquake loss through education, mitigation and insurance. We’re always learning more about the effects of strong shaking on our homes, and how the seismic retrofitting of older houses can help to reduce damage.”

One panel at the conference discussed how technology could help streamline post-earthquake damage assessments, which determine insured loss.

Social science was the focus for the forum’s second day, through a panel discussion on experiential communication tools — such as a new virtual-reality experience designed to help people visualize the damaging effects of floods — and through conversations on how to make technology more useful in real-world applications. 

To learn more about CEA, go to EarthquakeAuthority.com.

This story was originally published by Techwire