Integrating population dynamics into mapping human exposure to seismic hazard

Sergio Freire, Christoph Aubrecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Disaster risk is not fully characterized without taking into account vulnerability and population exposure. Assessment of earthquake risk in urban areas would benefit from considering the variation of population distribution at more detailed spatial and temporal scales, and from a more explicit integration of this improved demographic data with existing seismic hazard maps. In the present work, "intelligent" dasymetric mapping is used to model population dynamics at high spatial resolution in order to benefit the analysis of spatio-temporal exposure to earthquake hazard in a metropolitan area. These night- and daytime-specific population densities are then classified and combined with seismic intensity levels to derive new spatially-explicit four-classcomposite maps of human exposure. The presented approach enables a more thorough assessment of population exposure to earthquake hazard. Results show that there are significantly more people potentially at risk in the daytime period, demonstrating the shifting nature of population exposure in the daily cycle and the need to move beyond conventional residence-based demographic data sources to improve risk analyses. The proposed fine-scale maps of human exposure to seismic intensity are mainly aimed at benefiting visualization and communication of earthquake risk, but can be valuable in all phases of the disaster management process where knowledge of population densities is relevant for decisionmaking
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3533-3543
Number of pages11
JournalNatural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Research Field

  • Former Research Field - Energy
  • Former Research Field - Innovation Systems and Policy


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