Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 65, Issue 7, pp 1987–2001 | Cite as

Applications of a GIS-based geotechnical tool to assess spatial earthquake hazards in an urban area

Original Article


A geotechnical information system (GTIS) was constructed within a spatial geographic information system (GIS) framework to reliably predict geotechnical information and accurately estimate site effects at Gyeongju, an urban area in South Korea. The system was built based on both collected and performed site investigation data in addition to acquired geo-knowledge data. Seismic zoning maps were constructed using the site period (TG) and mean shear wave velocity to a depth of 30 m (VS30), and these maps were presented as a regional strategy to mitigate earthquake-induced risks in the study area. In particular, the TG distribution map indicated the susceptibility to ground motion resonance in periods ranging from 0.2 to 0.5 s and the corresponding seismic vulnerability of buildings with two to five stories. Seismic zonation of site classification according to VS30 values was also performed to determine the site amplification coefficients for seismic design and seismic performance evaluation at any site and administrative subunit in the study area. In addition, we investigated the site effects according to subsurface and surface ground irregularities at Gyeongju by seismic response analyses in time domains based on both two- and three-dimensional spatial finite element models, which were generated using spatial interface coordinates between geotechnical subsurface layers predicted by the GTIS. This practical study verified that spatial GIS-based geotechnical information can be a very useful resource in determining how to best mitigate seismic hazards, particularly in urban areas.


Geotechnical information Earthquake ground motion Seismic zonation Site effects Spatial finite element model 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Earthquake Research CenterKorea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral ResourcesDaejeonKorea

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