New risk features

Here we document some new risk features which have not yet made it into the engine manual. These are new features and cannot be considered fully-tested and stable yet.

Taxonomy mapping

In an ideal world, for every building type represented in the exposure model, there would be a unique matching function in the vulnerability or fragility models. However, often it may not be possible to have a one-to-one mapping of the taxonomy strings in the exposure and those in the vulnerability or fragility models. For cases where the exposure model has richer detail, many taxonomy strings in the exposure would need to be mapped onto a single vulnerability or fragility function. In other cases where building classes in the exposure are more generic and the fragility or vulnerability functions are available for more specific building types, a modeller may wish to assign more than one vulnerability or fragility function to the same building type in the exposure with different weights.

We may encode such information into a taxonomy_mapping.csv file like the following:

taxonomy conversion
Wood Type A Wood
Wood Type B Wood
Wood Type C Wood

Using an external file is convenient, because we can avoid changing the original exposure. If in the future we will be able to get specific risk functions, then we will just remove the taxonomy mapping. This usage of the taxonomy mapping (use proxies for missing risk functions) is pretty useful, but there is also another usage which is even more interesting.

Consider a situation where there are doubts about the precise composition of the exposure. For instance we may know than in a given geographic region 20% of the building of type “Wood” are of “Wood Type A”, 30% of “Wood Type B” and 50% of “Wood Type C”, corresponding to different risk functions, but do not know building per building what it its precise taxonomy, so we just use a generic “Wood” taxonomy in the exposure. We may encode the weight information into a taxonomy_mapping.csv file like the following:

taxonomy conversion weight
Wood Wood Type A 0.2
Wood Wood Type B 0.3
Wood Wood Type C 0.5

The engine will read this mapping file and when performing the risk calculation will use all three kinds of risk functions to compute a single result with a weighted mean algorithm. The sums of the weights must be 1 for each exposure taxonomy, otherwise the engine will raise an error. In this case the taxonomy mapping file works like a risk logic tree.

Internally both the first usage and the second usage are treated in the same way, since the first usage is a special case of the second when all the weights are equal to 1.

Currently, this taxonomy mapping feature has been tested only for the scenario and event based risk calculators.

Extended consequences

Scenario damage calculations produce the so called asset damage table, i.e. a set of damage distributions (the probability of being in each damage state listed in the fragility functions) per each asset, event and loss type. From the asset damage table it is possible to compute generic consequences by multiplying for known coefficients specified in what are called consequence model. For instance, from the probability of being in the collapsed damage state, one might estimate the number of fatalities, given the right multiplicative coefficient.

By default the engine allows to compute economic losses; in that case the coefficients depends on the taxonomy and the consequence model can be represented as a CSV file like the following:

taxonomy cname loss_type slight moderate extensive complete
CR_LFINF-DUH_H2 losses structural 0.05 0.25 0.6 1
CR_LFINF-DUH_H4 losses structural 0.05 0.25 0.6 1
MCF_LWAL-DNO_H3 losses structural 0.05 0.25 0.6 1
MR_LWAL-DNO_H1 losses structural 0.05 0.25 0.6 1
MR_LWAL-DNO_H2 losses structural 0.05 0.25 0.6 1
MUR_LWAL-DNO_H1 losses structural 0.05 0.25 0.6 1
W-WS_LPB-DNO_H1 losses structural 0.05 0.25 0.6 1
W-WWD_LWAL-DNO_H1 losses structural 0.05 0.25 0.6 1
MR_LWAL-DNO_H3 losses structural 0.05 0.25 0.6 1

The first field in the header is the name of a tag in the exposure; in this case it is the taxonomy but it could be any other tag — for instance, for volcanic ash-fall consequences, the roof-type might be more relevant, and for recovery time estimates, the occupancy class might be more relevant. The framework is meant to be used for generic consequences, not necessarily limited to earthquakes, because since version 3.6 the engine provides a multi-hazard risk calculator.

The second field of the header, the cname, is a string identifying the kind of consequence we are considering. It is important because it is associated to the name of the plugin function to use to compute the consequence; right now (engine 3.8) we only support cname="losses", but this will change in the future. The cname is also used when saving the consequence outputs in the datastore; right now we are storing only losses_by_event and losses_by_asset but additional outputs <cname>_by_event and <cname>_by_asset will be stored in the future, should the CSV file contain references to additional plugin functions. For instance we could have outputs fatalities_by_event and fatalities_by_asset.

The other fields in the header are the loss_type and the damage states. For instance the coefficient 0.25 for “moderate” means that the cost to bring a structure in “moderate damage” back to its undamaged state is 25% of the total replacement value of the asset.

Scenarios from ShakeMaps

Beginning with version 3.1, the engine is able to perform scenario_risk and scenario_damage calculations starting from the GeoJSON feed for ShakeMaps provided by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

In order to enable this functionality one has to prepare a parent calculation containing the exposure and risk functions for the region of interest, say Peru. To that aim the user will need to write a prepare_job.ini file like this one:

description = Peru - Preloading exposure and vulnerability
calculation_mode = scenario
exposure_file = exposure_model.xml
structural_vulnerability_file = structural_vulnerability_model.xml

By running the calculation

$ oq engine --run prepare_job.ini

The exposure and the risk functions will be imported in the datastore.

This example only includes vulnerability functions for the loss type structural, but one could also have in this preparatory job file the functions for nonstructural components and contents, and occupants, or fragility functions if damage calculations are of interest.

It is essential that each fragility/vulnerability function in the risk model should be conditioned on one of the intensity measure types that are supported by the ShakeMap service – PGV, PGA, SA(0.3), SA(1.0), and SA(3.0). If your fragility/vulnerability functions involves an intensity measure type which is not supported by the ShakeMap system (for instance SA(0.6)) the calculation will terminate with an error.

Let’s suppose that the calculation ID of this ‘pre’ calculation is 1000. We can now run the risk calculation starting from a ShakeMap. For that, one need a job.ini file like the following:

description = Peru - 2007 M8.0 Pisco earthquake losses
calculation_mode = scenario_risk
number_of_ground_motion_fields = 10
truncation_level = 3
shakemap_id = usp000fjta
hazard_calculation_id = 1000  # ID of the pre-calculation
spatial_correlation = yes
cross_correlation = yes

This example refers to the 2007 Mw8.0 Pisco earthquake in Peru (see The risk can be computed by running the risk job file against the prepared calculation:

$ oq engine --run job.ini

The engine will perform the following operations:

  1. download the ShakeMap from the USGS web service and convert it into a format suitable for further processing, i.e. a ShakeMaps array with lon, lat fields
  2. the ShakeMap array will be associated to the hazard sites in the region covered by the ShakeMap
  3. by using the parameters truncation_level and number_of_ground_motion_fields a set of ground motion fields (GMFs) following the truncated Gaussian distribution will be generated and stored in the datastore
  4. a regular risk calculation will be performed by using such GMFs and the assets within the region covered by the shakemap.

The performance of the calculation will be crucially determined by the number of hazard sites. For instance, in the case of the Pisco earthquake the ShakeMap has 506,142 sites, which is a significantly large number of sites. However, the extent of the ShakeMap in longitude and latitude is about 6 degrees, with a step of 10 km the grid contains around 65 x 65 sites; most of the sites are without assets because most of the grid is on the sea or on high mountains, so actually there are around ~500 effective sites. Computing a correlation matrix of size 500 x 500 is feasible, so the risk computation can be performed. Clearly in situations in which the number of hazard sites is too large, approximations will have to be made, such as neglecting the spatial or cross correlation effects, or using a larger region_grid_spacing.

By default the engine tries to compute both the spatial correlation and the cross correlation between different intensity measure types. For each kind of correlation you have three choices, that you can set in the job.ini, for a total of nine combinations:

- spatial_correlation = yes, cross_correlation = yes  # the default
- spatial_correlation = no, cross_correlation = no   # disable everything
- spatial_correlation = yes, cross_correlation = no
- spatial_correlation = no, cross_correlation = yes
- spatial_correlation = full, cross_correlation = full
- spatial_correlation = yes, cross_correlation = full
- spatial_correlation = no, cross_correlation = full
- spatial_correlation = full, cross_correlation = no
- spatial_correlation = full, cross_correlation = yes

yes means using the correlation matrix of the Silva-Horspool paper; no mean using a unity correlation matrix; full means using an all-ones correlation matrix.

Disabling either the spatial correlation or the cross correlation (or both) might be useful to see how significant the effect of the correlation is on the damage/loss estimates; sometimes it is also made necessary because the calculation simply cannot be performed otherwise due to the large size of the resulting correlation matrices.

In particular, due to numeric errors, the spatial correlation matrix - that by construction contains only positive numbers - can still produce small negative eigenvalues (of the order of -1E-15) and the calculation fails with an error message saying that the correlation matrix is not positive defined. Welcome to the world of floating point approximation! Rather than magically discarding negative eigenvalues the engine raises an error and the user has two choices: either disable the spatial correlation or reduce the number of sites because that can make the numerical instability go away. The easiest way to reduce the number of sites is setting a region_grid_spacing parameter in the prepare_job.ini file, then the engine will automatically put the assets on a grid. The larger the grid spacing, the fewer the number of points, and the closer the calculation will be to tractability.

If the ground motion values or the standard deviations are particularly large, the user will get a warning about suspicious GMFs.

Moreover, especially for old ShakeMaps, the USGS can provide them in a format that the engine cannot read.

Thus, this feature is not expected to work in 100% of the cases.

Note: on macOS make sure to run the script located under /Applications/Python 3.6/Install Certificates.command, after Python has been installed, to update the SSL certificates and to avoid SSL errors when downloading the ShakeMaps from the USGS website (see the FAQ)