Social and Physical Science to Intersect in New Public Safety Tools

Book envisions next generation of risk assessment technology

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Book envisions next generation of risk assessment technology.

  • Steven French Steven French

Researchers at Georgia Tech and the University of Washington give a comprehensive account of next generation risk mitigation technology in a new book titled Risk Assessment, Modeling and Decision Support.

According to the book, social and physical science are converging in the field of risk assessment. In order to plan appropriately, for example, public officials not only need to know the likelihood of structure damage in the event of a devastating earthquake, but also the number of jobs that could be lost.

Geared toward structural engineers, city planners, geographic information systems specialists, insurance companies and emergency management professionals, the book describes technology that will better protect against hazardous situations. Some examples include:

  • More salient metrics to include socioeconomic effects of hazards
  • Resource-allocation and other decision-making support
  • Software designed for wider user base, such as psychologists
  • Interface design to enhance visualization and communication
  • Simpler, more transparent and open-source approach to software
  • Enhanced fragility curve information

Research in the book strongly suggests a focus on inclusion of different user groups. "We need to cantilever the civil engineering practice into risk assessment on all levels, and to invite elected officials into the development process," said co-author Steven French, a researcher at Georgia Tech. "Metrics like potential damage to tax base and population base would greatly help decision makers and could reduce the overall cost of damage."

As risk mitigation and safety technology become more sophisticated, demand for talent and technical expertise in risk assessment will continue to grow. Risk Assessment, Modeling and Decision Support aims to not only assist risk assessment organizations to adopt and integrate new technology, but also to advance academic curriculum in this area. 

More than 25 researchers and consultants from the United States, Canada and Japan contributed to the content. Primary authors include Dr. Ann Bostrom, Associate Dean of Research at the University of Washington; Dr. Steven French, Director of the Center for Geographic Information Systems at Georgia Tech; and Sara Gottlieb, Research Scientist at the Center for Geographic Information Systems at Georgia Tech. 

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Engineering, Research
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decision support, geographic information systems, Georgia Tech, modeling, risk assessment, steven french
  • Created By: Teri Nagel
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Mar 23, 2008 - 8:00pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:09pm