2.10. Opportunity Areas for Future Refinements

This testbed and its supporting workflows should be viewed as a sandbox and scaffold, respectively, within which the community can explore different scenarios and develop new capabilities. The following list itemizes some areas where contributions from the community are especially welcome:

  1. The current use of HAZUS for damage and loss modeling limits the buildings under consideration to 6 stories and under. Thus, the user community is invited to support the extension of PELICUN to buildings taller than 6 stories.

  2. Extensions to taller buildings will require further expansion of the building inventory’s fields to capture attributes relevant to those classes of construction. Methods to mine relevant data from imagery or other third-party data sources, e.g., Emporis, will provide welcome extensions to the Asset Description approaches described herein.

  3. The testbed would benefit from validation studies that include ground truthing the generated inventories as well as the projected damage and loss. Those with access to damage data, particularly in areas significantly affected by Superstorm Sandy, may use the testbed to conduct such validation studies. The methodologies used to construct the inventory for Atlantic County can easily be repeated in more northern counties of the state, where damage was more significant, as all the flood-exposed inventory data and hazard descriptions available through the SimCenter have coverage over the entire state. The rulesets are similarly applicable statewide.

  4. Currently, the workflow calculates damage and monetary loss; coupling the workflow with other social, societal, or economic models will provide opportunities to more robustly explore the impacts of hazard events, mitigation investments, and development decisions on community resilience. The creation of techniques to automatically scrape and fuse data from the social, human, and behavioral sciences will ensure those datasets can be generated in a manner similar to those used for the building inventory itself.

  5. A number of approximations and assumptions were made in the generation of the building inventory (see Asset Description). There is considerable opportunity to expand, enrich and improve upon methodologies for automated inventory generation, particularly to generate other attributes necessary as the workflow advances toward component level damage quantification.

  6. The SimCenter aspires to incorporate increasing levels of fidelity in its characterization of hazards, modeling of buildings (to support application of pressures/loads and structural analysis), and ability to describe damage at the component level, with fault-trees that capture cascading damage sequences resulting from breaches of the building envelope. Thus there is considerable need for community research contributions such as libraries of fragilities, archetype building models, and catalogs of high-fidelity hazard simulations (hindcasts of historical events or synthetic storm data). This is especially the case of coastal hazards. With aspirations to replicate this workflow in other regions, these contributions need not be confined to New Jersey/Atlantic Coast. Their integration into the testbed can demonstrate how the contributions of individual researchers can aggregate to evaluate impact on much larger scales.

  7. The testbed does not explicitly treat the effects of debris (wind-borne or surge-transported), nor are any of the flow fields translated into pressures acting on individual buildings to enable the execution of structural analyses. Extending the workflow to tall buildings creates opportunities for response simulation to estimate drifts or other EDPs for more dynamically sensitive structures under wind. However, similar opportunities to translate geospatially varying hazards into loads on a given structure can be seized to increase the workflow’s overall fidelity.


Community members who wish to contribute to the hurricane testbed in any of the above (or other) areas can express their interest by completing this survey.