Smart response to post-quake building checks

Christchurch City Council is working with local partners to develop a rapid response to post-earthquake building assessment.

In partnership with the Council’s Smart Cities programme, local company Sense3 has developed the Earthquake Response Visualiser (EQRV).

Using peak ground acceleration (PGA) data from multiple GNS sensors around the city, EQRV displays the force and impact of shaking from an earthquake. The EQRV solution capitalises on the publicly available data.

However, more sites need to be monitored to cover the variety of ground conditions found in Christchurch.

In a joint initiative with the Council, Christchurch’s Canterbury Seismic Instruments (CSI) is leveraging its network of more than 100 critical infrastructure sensors to provide dense urban data to deliver shaking information on a block by block and building by building basis.

The Council is also working with internationally recognised Trimble to promote and expand an array of sensors in buildings of significance across the city.

In combination, these initiatives will provide enhanced information for building owners and engineers to quickly determine the appropriate earthquake response and inspection focus. In turn, targeted prioritisation and rapid decisions will cut building closure periods and reduce the negative consequences for the city.

As these initiatives develop, they will be integrated by the Smart Cities programme into its application, SmartView Christchurch, which will be available to the public this year.

Smart Cities programme manager Teresa McCallum is excited about the next phase of seismic monitoring to be rolled out across the city in collaboration with CSI.

“We have more information than ever before, but it is still not enough,” she says.

“CSI experience has shown that there can be a huge spatial variation within a small area.

“Working with local businesses, we will place sensors in buildings which will instantly provide owners with the actual shaking experienced at that site and specific to their building. This enables us all to make defensible decisions based on robust data.

“When we incorporate dense ground-shaking data, we will realise multiple benefits for emergency response. Combined with structural performance data  and ongoing research, we can dramatically improve seismic resilience.

“As this network increases and we share the information with building owners, research agencies, and Civil Defence and emergency management, we hope to become the most seismically prepared city in the world.”