SENSUM Information Sheets


Every year, natural hazards become natural disasters when people's lives and livelihoods are destroyed. The world has suffered from severe natural disasters over the last decennium. The earthquakes in Haiti and Chile in 2010, the tsunami following the Tohoku earthquake in 2011, and more recently typhoon "Haiyan" hitting the Philippines in 2013 are among the most prominent examples. For pre-event reduction strategies and preparedness, as well as post-event response and recovery planning activities, knowledge about the amount, the location, and the nature of the exposed elements and population is in strong demand. Especially in developing countries, which are often prone to severe natural hazards, spatial data are mostly inaccurate, generalized, not up-to-date or even not available at all. Thus, rapid disaster response often lacks the necessary geo-data that would allow for an assessment of the effected people, buildings, infrastructure and their respective locations...see more


Assessment of geo-risk, in particular arising from earthquakes, is a complex process whose reliability, and thus usefulness, is based on the quality of the data used to build and run the underlying models. The compilation of an up-to-date exposure model (the inventory of the assets exposed to natural hazards), in particular, is a critical stage of risk assessment in many areas in the world.  

GFZ-REM provides a suite of hardware and software tools (see Fig. 1) embedded in a methodological framework to rapidly and conveniently sample and analyze wide geographic areas with respect to different environmental aspects related to geo-risk modeling.


A core component of the GFZ-REM suite includes the GFZ MObile MApping system (GFZ-MOMA). The system has been developed to provide practitioners in the field of risk assessment with a user-friendly, reliable methodology to rapidly collect information on the exposure and vulnerability of urban environments over large areas. The GFZ-MOMA is based on an omnidirectional camera, able to capture at up to 15 frames per second high-resolution, geo-referenced omnidirectional images (see Fig. 3), each spanning 360° lateral coverage



GFZ-REM includes a Remote Rapid Visual Screening (RRVS) component that allows for the visualization and analysis of the captured images in an offline procedure. For instance, a desk operator can easily use the GIS-based software tool (see Fig. 6) to extract in a standardized way georeferenced features of interest for a sampled set of buildings.

A geographic multi-temporal and multi-resolution database is powering the data storage and management back-end. The data collected from the interpretation of omnidirectional image streams are inserted and modified via an adjustable GIS-based data entry mask, for further processing and interpretation. The database implements an open, flexible and globally adjusted building taxonomy based upon the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) standards. Extensions are available, or can be implemented within the GFZ-REM, for multi-hazard exposure assessment (earthquake, floods, landslides).