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2019 Wildfire Risk Report from CoreLogic Analyzes Western U.S. Damage and Risk

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

In September, CoreLogic released their 2019 Wildfire Risk Report that analyzes the top regions, states and metro areas at risk for wildfire damage, including number of at-risk homes and their estimated reconstruction costs. The report also includes a breakdown of 2017 and 2018’s major wildfires, which were quite extensive through the western United States. The report focuses on homes in the western states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Some important facts from the report include (from company materials):

  • The report found nearly 776,000 homes with an associated reconstruction cost value of more than $221 billion are at extreme risk of wildfire damage.
  • The Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego metro areas ranked as the top three high-risk areas, respectively with more than 42% of residences at high-to-extreme wildfire risk.
    • These regions make up more than 51% of the total RCV of the top 15 metro areas analyzed.
  • In 2018, the highest number of acreage burn occurred in California (1,823,153 acres burned), Nevada (1,001,966 acres burned) and Oregon (897,262 acres burned).
  • 2018 was a record-breaking wildfire year with 8,767,492 acres burned—roughly equivalent to 74 of the 75 largest cities in the United States combined.
    • This marked the 6th highest total since modern historical records began in the mid-1900s.

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CoreLogic Reports Estimates Commercial Flood and Wind Loss for Hurricane Barry

Friday, August 16th, 2019

David Smith, Senior Director Model Development at CoreLogic, spoke with GISCafe Voice about CoreLogic’s recent announcement of residential and commercial flood and wind loss estimates for Hurricane Barry before the event occurred. According to this data analysis from the company, flood loss for residential and commercial properties in Louisiana is estimated to be between $200 million and $400 million which includes both storm surge and inland flooding. Insured flood loss from private insurers is estimated at less than $100 million. Wind losses are estimated to be an additional $300 million to $500 million. In total, insured flood and wind losses, excluding National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) losses, are between $300 million and $600 million.

CoreLogic® is a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider. This information is directly drawn from company materials:

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CoreLogic Releases 2019 Insurance Coverage Adequacy Report, in Response to Increased Natural Hazards in U.S.

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

The U.S. has seen an increase in the number of natural disasters between the years 2016 and 2018. The resulting “underinsurance issues” have kept analytics and data-enabled solutions providers very busy with analyzing the new wave of areas that would be better served by increased natural hazard coverage.

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GISCafe 2018 Year in Review

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

Many years ago Marshall McLuhan wrote that “the medium is the message.” Never has that been more true than today as we look at how we receive our information – via our phones, computers, TVs, blogs, podcasts, Twitter and other social media. The Immediacy of the message is now available through those avenues, and serves us well in the form new geospatial technology development – autonomous vehicle technology, data acquisition and analytics, social media mapping and imagery – all of which can be utilized to save time, money and more importantly, save lives.

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CoreLogic’s New Analysis on Flood and Wind Losses from Hurricane Florence

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

David Smith, Senior Director of Model Development at CoreLogic, spoke with GISCafe Voice about the recent analysis of loss from flooding from Hurricane Florence released by CoreLogic.

CoreLogic analysis shows Hurricane Florence is estimated to have caused between $20 billion and $30 billion in flood and wind losses.

According to this new data analysis, flood loss for residential and commercial properties in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia is estimated to be between $19 billion and $28.5 billion which includes both storm surge and inland flooding. Specifically, uninsured flood loss for the same area is estimated to be between $13 billion and $18.5 billion. Wind losses are estimated to be an additional $1 billion to $1.5 billion.

  • What percentage of loss from flooding is characteristically covered by insurance?
    • The percentage of flood losses covered by insurance, whether through the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) or through private insurance, is typically low in major flood events, especially on the residential side. Our modeling indicates that about 85 percent of the residential flood losses in Florence will be uninsured. This is even greater than the estimated 70 percent of uninsured residential flood losses as a result of Hurricane Harvey last year.
  • Will new areas be considerate for designated Special Flood Hazard Areas after this hurricane? How does that work?
    • It’s possible that new areas could be considered for designated Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) after Hurricane Florence. FEMA is continually updating its flood maps and flood elevations, and major flood events in the past have raised the priority of such updates in the affected areas.

It’s important to recognize that the SFHAs are designed to identify areas that are subject to flooding with an annual probability of 1 percent or greater – sometimes described as a 100-year return period. Areas outside the SFHAs often flood in major events, in which we often see rainfall return periods well beyond 100 years.

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New Resource Center Hazard HQ from CoreLogic Offers Public Access to Analysis and Data Insights

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

CoreLogic®, a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, recently announced the launch of its new publicly-accessible risk information resource center, Hazard HQ(tm). This new information hub will offer individuals, media and companies high-level analyses and up-to-date data insights on the immediate risks natural catastrophes pose to properties across the country.

The latest risk summary for Hazard HQ focuses on the ongoing California wildfires. As comprehensive risk assessment needs increase alongside growing economic losses from natural catastrophes, Hazard HQ offers a high-level risk perspective for individuals and companies who wish to understand how hazards like earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, severe convective storms, wildfires, wind and volcanic activity can impact their regions.

Senior leader of content and strategy for CoreLogic, Maiclaire Bolton Smith, spoke with GISCafe Voice about the new resource center and how it is dedicated to offering catastrophe insights about events while they are happening.

Does Hazard HQ take in citizen information?

No, it focuses on information from CoreLogic. Corelogic can provide insight and information, whether wildfire, hurricane, earthquake or flooding, and offers insights on number of properties that could be at risk, or on an area that could be impacted and the home value that could be lost. No information is pulled from citizens. It’s our opportunity to share information with others to help them protect themselves and be able to restore from financial catastrophe.

It really evolved as a way for us to share information easily.

We’ve had all these devastating wildfires this summer already. We always try to learn from the events that have happened. We’ll always be providing more information on research. For example, with regard to the wildfire that happened in Sonoma County, California last year that impacted Santa Rosa, over the past six months we’ve done a lot of research looking at the reconstruction from that wildfire and the state of the homes being rebuilt and looking at some of the insurance impacts and implications from that event happening. An event doesn’t end when an event ends, it’s a long process afterwards to really recover from it, so we will continue to share more information on an ongoing basis as we continue to research events.

How do you expect risk analysis you’ve done last year is going to impact or help in the assessment of the damage of the Mendocino fire, as an example, right now?

The biggest factor is that it brings awareness to the impact that these devastating events do have. We hear about the hundreds of thousands of acres burned, but a lot of times the fires are burning in remote areas and there are not a lot of properties at risk. It’s devastating to see the area burned, but what we want to focus on is bringing awareness to insurers and other people about where there are homes and properties at risk, and focus on the human aspects of it. What people can take away from our previous research, is

  1. Being prepared for hazards that could happen, whether it be a flood, earthquake, hurricane, etc. We’re prone to disasters all the time in various parts of the country.
  2. Awareness of the events that can happen, and our main goal is to work with insurance companies and help them understand what properties are valued at to be able to insure properties properly.
  3. The general public needs to know they need insurance for a lot of these hazards. Insurance can really help them recover from events when they do happen. Hopefully they won’t be impacted but if they are, to know their risk and to be able to accelerate their recovery is a huge bonus.

Say a customer is obtaining insurance for things they expect but what about these events that happen way beyond anyone’s expectations?

Unfortunately, those rare events are the wild card that are really beyond planning scenarios. I’m actually a seismologist by training and I spend a lot of time training people to know their earthquake risk. I always say the number one thing people can do to prepare for an earthquake, is believe that it can happen, and that’s the same with all disasters. The possibility is there that it may occur. These are hard for people to conceptualize and plan for.

At CoreLogic we do risk modeling where we look at the range of events that can happen – the more common events to the very extreme events. That’s the information we provide to insurance companies, including what could the worst-case scenario even look like.

I have spoken to CoreLogic many times. In the past the company has said with the fires we’re expecting an increase in losses to homes because people have built closer to forests, and forests are not cleared as often, we run the higher risk.
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2018 CoreLogic Storm Surge Report Predicts Risk for Coastal Areas

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

The 2018 CoreLogic Storm Surge Report was released Thursday by CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider.

“While industry predictions for this year’s storm season indicate average activity levels, associated storm surge risk remains an important consideration for residential and commercial properties in the 19 states analyzed,” said Dr. Tom Jeffery, senior hazard scientist at CoreLogic. “Depending on the location of a storm’s landfall and that area’s population density and reconstruction costs, lower Category storms can cause just as much damage as storms in higher categories.”

As the U.S. enters hurricane season, the report shows that more than 6.9 million homes along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts are at potential risk of damage from hurricane storm surge surge with a total reconstruction cost value (RCV) of more than $1.6 trillion (Table 1).

Already according to predictions of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 2018 hurricane season is expected to have near- to above-normal activity. NOAA predicts a 70 percent chance of 10 to 16 named storms. While not all of them will develop into hurricanes, NOAA predicts five to nine of these will develop into hurricanes, and one to four are predicted to reach Category 3 classification or higher.

According to the report, risk from hurricane-driven storm surge for homes along the Atlantic and Gulf coastlines across 19 states, as well as for 86 metro areas is analyzed in the risk CoreLogic analysis. Homes are categorized by five risk levels: Low (homes affected only by a Category 5 storm), Moderate (homes affected by Category 4 and 5 storms), High (homes affected by Category 3, 4 and 5 storms), Very High (homes affected by Category 2, 3, 4 and 5 storms) and Extreme (homes affected by Category 1-5 storms). RCV figures represent the cost to completely rebuild a property in case of damage – including labor and materials by geographic location – assuming the worst-case scenario at 100-percent destruction.

Regionally, the Atlantic Coast has more than 3.9 million homes at risk of storm surge with an RCV of more than $1 trillion (Table 2), an increase of around $30 billion compared to 2017. The Gulf Coast has more than 3 million homes at risk with over $609 billion in potential exposure to total destruction damage, with over $16 billion increase compared to 2017. Areas with less coastal exposure but with lower elevations that extend inland tend to have more total homes at risk because the surge water can travel farther inland. Additionally, due to market conditions and previous storm surge damage, construction costs can increase despite having a lower number of at-risk homes compared to other states or Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs).
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GISCafe 2017 Year in Review

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

2017 tested the resilience of geospatial technologies with many natural disasters.  In reviewing the year, we take a look at products, services and technologies that moved the industry forward and responded eloquently to geospatial need.

Disaster response, weather tracking, and predictive weather analysis drove a great deal of development and put to the test those technologies in place for just such eventualities.

Other areas of interest include new developments in sensors, location and Big Data, small sats, mobile mapping and 3D models for indoor mapping, autonomous driving, and building smart cities.

Under the Weather

In an interview with URISA’s GISCorps founder Shoreh Elhami and URISA executive director Wendy Nelson, they offer a broader understanding of what GISCorps is about and how it can help with natural disasters.

Is ArcGIS Online able to generate a setting for help, i.e., website, app, or whatever resource might be needed, during a natural disaster event? And how soon might that be available to the public? 

ArcGIS Online (AGO) can be used to create a variety of story maps. Those story maps as well as any AGO based web apps can be embedded in any website and very quickly. A good example of that is the web app that our volunteers embedded in Fort Bend County’s website on road closures. Another example is a story map that was built by NAPSG shortly after the disaster, our volunteers also assisted with that project.

How has the GIS relief effort for Hurricane Harvey been handled by GISCorps so far and what are the plans going forward?

26 of our volunteers have been working on mapping road closures in Fort Bend County. The information originates from County’s website, emails, and also tweets. The Web app has been helpful to residents, first responders, and the county staff. The project was lead by two of our volunteers who worked with GISCorps Core Committee members on managing the project. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also requested the assistance of a GIS programmer to pull data from the FEMA site on an ongoing basis. The GISCorps Recruitment team selected a volunteer within 30 hours and put the volunteer  in contact with CDC. We also asked our volunteers to contribute to NAPSG story map. We are currently on stand-by and ready to assist with other projects at this time, be it for Harvey or Irma.

Hurricane Harvey weather map

How do the projects for Hurricane Harvey and Katrina differ or are they the same? What are the priorities?

Quite different. For Katrina, we deployed 30 volunteers onsite, the option to assist remotely didn’t even exist. Volunteers packed up their bags, laptops, and other essentials and head over to the affected areas within a couple of days. For Harvey (and many other disasters of the past few years), we haven’t had to send anyone anywhere. Volunteers work from their home or offices and have been effective in different ways. For Katrina, the priority was to help with the rescue efforts at first (locate people under stress and report to the coast guard) and then, the recovery phase began where volunteers made 100’s of maps and conducted lots of analysis). For Harvey, crowd sourcing and information from social media have become major sources of information for developing interactive maps to first responders and other affected population.]

Tom Jeffrey, CEO of CoreLogic, a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, talked about their analysis for the flooding and storm surge as a result of Hurricane Harvey.
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Hurricane Harvey Early Predictive Analysis with Wind and Storm Surge Data

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Front and center in the news right now is Hurricane Harvey and resulting devastation, which will most likely remain in the news for awhile.

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From the Exhibit Floor: Esri UC 2016

Friday, July 8th, 2016

What was the most exciting attraction in the Exhibit Hall at the Esri User Conference 2016? Hard to say, as the 14,000+ attendees flocked to see the plethora of exciting exhibits from third party companies, and of course the numerous demonstrations of Esri products and services. Drones, imagery, field solutions, utilities, navigation, spatially enabled business apps, data management, all vied for an audience at the conference. Esri’s Drone2Map was a huge hit, and Collector for ArcGIS was a product that garnered an enormous amount of attention at its demonstrations and technical workshops, offering the promise of providing mapping to professionals in the field workforce that would in turn, improve the accuracy and currency of spatial data.

IMG_5395

Esri’s Drone2Map

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University of Denver GIS Masters Degree Online



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