Development of the OpenQuake engine, the Global Earthquake Model’s open-source software for seismic risk assessment


The Global Earthquake Model aims to combine the main features of state-of-the-art science, global collaboration and buy-in, transparency and openness in an initiative to calculate and communicate earthquake risk worldwide. One of the first steps towards this objective has been the open-source development and release of software for seismic hazard and risk assessment called the OpenQuake engine. This software comprises a set of calculators capable of computing human or economic losses for a collection of assets, caused by a given scenario event, or by considering the probability of all possible events that might happen within a region within a certain time span. This paper provides an insight into the current status of the development of this tool and presents a comprehensive description of each calculator, with example results.

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Web references

  1. OpenQuake website—

  2. Global earthquake model—

  3. SELENA——developed by the Norwegian seismic array (NORSAR) in Kjeller, Norway

  4. EQRM——developed by the Geoscience Australia (GA) in Canberra, Australia

  5. ELER——developed by the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute (KOERI) in Istanbul, Turkey

  6. QLARM——developed by the World Agency of Planetary Monitoring and Earthquake Risk Reduction (WAPMERR) in Geneva, Switzerland

  7. CEDIM——developed by the Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology (CEDIM) in Potsdam, Germany

  8. CAPRA——Central America Probabilistic Risk Analysis, an initiative from the World Bank

  9. RiskScape——developed by the Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS) in Lower Hutt, New Zealand

  10. LNECLoss——developed by the Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil (LNEC) in Lisbon, Portugal

  11. MAEviz——developed by the Mid-America Earthquake Center (MAE Center) in Illinois, USA

  12. OpenRisk——developed by the Scawthorn, Porter and Associates (SPA Risk)

  13. Celery project—

  14. RabbitMQ project—

  15. OpenQuake engine repository—

  16. NRML repository

  17. GEM Nexus—

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The authors would like to acknowledge the significant contribution of Joshua McKenty in the design of the architecture of the OpenQuake engine, and for strictly instilling open-source practices within the development team. Discussions with a number of individuals (Keith Porter, Mario Ordaz, Paolo Bazzurro, Nico Luco) have also been central to the development of many of the features of the OpenQuake engine’s scientific libraries. The authors would also like to thank Graeme Weatherill and Paul Henshaw for their advice during the drafting of the manuscript and support in the various calculations.

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Correspondence to Vitor Silva.

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Silva, V., Crowley, H., Pagani, M. et al. Development of the OpenQuake engine, the Global Earthquake Model’s open-source software for seismic risk assessment. Nat Hazards 72, 1409–1427 (2014).

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  • Seismic hazard
  • Seismic risk
  • Loss assessment
  • Open-source