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RiskScape - a world-leading risk modelling tool for New Zealand

With our project partners NIWA and the Earthquake Commission (EQC), we are further developing a world-leading software tool for modelling natural hazard risks. Known as RiskScape, the open access software enables users to assess risk to buildings, infrastructure and people from natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods.

Auckland from the sky. Photo: Margaret Low

RiskScape lets users model natural hazard scenarios - and see their impacts. Photo: Margaret Low

RiskScape draws on decades of accumulated hazards knowledge to help users with decisions about planning and mitigation. It is designed to perform complex calculations simply and quickly without needing specialist modelling knowledge. GNS Science and NIWA jointly developed RiskScape and EQC recently joined the partnership. The next update of the tool is due for release in mid-2020. 

The software enables users to create a natural hazard scenario through simple steps. Results can include the number of exposed buildings, the degree of damage and economic loss, as well an estimate of human casualties. It can also estimate the disruption to lifelines, such as electricity, road, and water networks. 

As well as being used in New Zealand cities, RiskScape has been used in Samoa to quantify flooding risk in the catchment of the Viasigano River — the main waterway through the capital Apia. The information is informing emergency evacuation planning and flood response procedures. It has also been used in Indonesia to assess building impacts from a tsunami affecting coastal areas of Palu on the island of Sulawesi.