The role of GIS in urban seismic risk studies: application to the city of Almería (southern Spain)
This work describes the structure and characteristics of the geographic information system (GIS) developed for the urban seismic risk study of the city of Almería (southern Spain), identifying the stages in which the use of this tool proved to be very beneficial for adopting informed decisions throughout the execution of the work.
After the completion of the regional emergency plans for seismic risk in Spain and its subsequent approval by the National Civil Defence Commission, the municipalities that need to develop specific local seismic risk plans have been identified. Hence, the next action is to develop urban seismic risk analyses at a proper scale (Urban Seismic Risk Evaluation – Risk-UR).
For this evaluation, different factors influencing seismic risk such as seismic hazard, geotechnical soil characteristics, vulnerability of structures of the region, reparation costs of damaged buildings and exposed population are combined. All these variables are gathered and analysed within a GIS and subsequently used for seismic risk estimation. The GIS constitutes a highly useful working tool because it facilitates data interoperability, making the great volume of information required and the numerous processes that take part in the calculations easier to handle, speeding up the analysis and the interpretation and presentation of the results of the different working phases.
The result of this study is based on a great set of variables that provide a comprehensive view of the urban seismic risk, such as the damage distribution of buildings and dwellings of different typologies, the mean damage and the number of uninhabitable buildings for the expected seismic motion, the number of dead and injured at different times of the day, the cost of reconstruction and repair of buildings, among others. These results are intended for interpretation and decision making in emergency management by unspecialised users (Civil Defence technicians and managers).