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CoreLogic Wildfire Risk Analysis Data Pinpoints High Risk Areas in the U.S.

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

CoreLogic recently released new wildfire data, the CoreLogic Wildfire Risk Analysis, that states that nearly 900,000 single-family homes across 13 states in the western U.S. are currently designated at “High” or “Very High,” risk for wildfire damage, representing a combined total reconstruction value estimated at more than $237 billion. Of the total homes identified, just over 192,000 homes fall into the “Very High Risk” category alone, with total reconstruction cost valued at more than $49.6 billion. Other categories include “Moderate” and “Low” risk. GISCafe spoke with Dr. Tom Jeffery of CoreLogic to find out the scoop on this important new information for homeowners, insurance companies and other stakeholders.

Dr. Tom Jeffery: In the past we used what’s called the assessed property value which is based on tax assessment. We’ve actually changed that so it matches what we do with storm surge which is reconstruction value of these homes. This is going to be the cost of labor and materials in each of the different locations to replace the structure that would be lost in the event that a wildfire destroyed the whole thing. California is right at the top of the list, in most cases, because of wildfire risk throughout the state, but Colorado and Texas are also states that are usually ranked very high. They continue to do so through this report. There is one overarching factor that pops out whenever we do these reports. When we see results for the first time, we see how many homes are at risk in the total U.S. and what those values are. They are exceptionally high in those areas.

GISCafe Voice: What determines what states are ranked high?

TJ: Because you have large population centers in California, Texas and Colorado, and those urban areas that continue to grow, the pace of the growth is going to grow from year. All three of those states continue to have urban expansion and new homes constructed continue to push out into areas that have higher risk. There’s a lot of risk in those three states as well. A lot of people and a lot of risk is a combination that put those three to the top of the list.

GISCafe Voice: How do you assess the risk score?

TJ: The risk score itself is really based on several factors we combine, the first is the risk on the property, and that determines our categories of high, moderate high and very high, those determine the risk on the property. It’s based on what fuel is there, based on vegetation, if there’s change of terrain, if there’s a steep slop which enhances the risk, that determines the category. But for the score we actually want to look outside the property boundary to risk in close proximity to that property. So if you own a property maybe you have a nice manicured lawn, decorative trees, you don’t have any risk on the property. But just outside the boundary there could be a lot of chaparall in Southern California, for instance, a dense conifer or pine forest, in other areas. If that exists really close to your property that raises the risk value.

So we measure the distance from a property to what’s around it in terms of risk and then we add that to the category or risk on the property, and we add that to the score. The score is going to be 0-100 numeric-based and anything that’s 80 and above is extremely high risk. We have those broken out in the tables, so you can see even though if you look at the U.S. as a whole, there are going to be 192,000 properties that are listed as very high. And that’s looking at the risk on the property. As soon as we look at the score – and the score 81-100, we go from 192,000 all the way up to 1.1 million. So really those homes on the urban edge pushing out in to the wilder areas are the ones that the score is picking up and that’s why the scores are jumping from 192,000 to 1.1 million. It’s the homes that don’t have the risk within their borders and boundaries but have it just outside that are at most risk.

GISCafe Voice: What are insurance companies concerned with when they consult with you?

TJ: Most of those discussions with insurance company representatives revolve around mitigation, which is, how can homeowners reduce the risk on the property and which properties need that? More and more insurance companies have to write these policies and there are so many high risk policies they can’t ignore. What they’re trying to do more and more is identify the high risk properties, then identify ways they can talk to land and homeowners and clear brush around the homes, make sure it’s not a wood shake roof, all these things do to reduce the risk on higher risk. It helps homeowner in the long run because it’s less risk for their home, also helps insurance companies so they both benefit from things homeowners can do to reduce risk on property.

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Uber acquires deCarta

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Last week, Uber announced that it acquired deCarta, a small location based services (LBS) company. As Uber has made its name as the “ridesharing giant,” a company spokesman said that they hoped to improve Uber’s ETA times as well as carpooling service with the acquisition. It also will reduce the company’s reliance on Google and Apple.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 9.40.55 AM (more…)

Thoughts on the new proposed FAA rules for UAS

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

New proposed rules covering small “unmanned aerial systems” (UAS) issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this Sunday, could be game changing for those who are looking to use unmanned drones for business purposes.

A Reaper UAV drone

A Reaper UAV drone

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Esri’s new ArcGIS Open Data Site Available for Open Data Sharing

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Esri announced the launch of a new site aimed to help citizens locate organizations sharing open data around the world and provide direct access to thousands of open government datasets. Citizens can search, download, filter, and visualize this data through their web browser or mobile device.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 10.30.20 AM (more…)

GISCafe Voice Techno-Predictions for 2015

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

In the United States alone, geospatial data and services are estimated to generate $1.6 trillion annually.

Skybox Imaging

Skybox Imaging

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Startup AllSource uses commercial satellite imagery to monitor North Korean political prison camps from space

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Chuck Herring, formerly of DigitalGlobe, is one of three founders (Joe Bermudez and Stephen Wood) of the startup company Allsource Analysis Inc.  (ASA) Located in the heart of Colorado’s Front Range geospatial hub, commercial imagery intelligence and analytics products AllSource Analysis Inc. (ASA) is establishing itself as a company to address specific analysis and monitoring challenges using commercial satellite imagery and remote sensing.

A representative image of the work done by AllSource in North Korea

A representative image of the work done by AllSource in North Korea

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Happy New Year and 2015 GISCafe Voice Editorial Calendar!

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Happy New Year from GISCafe!

planets (more…)

Special GISCafe Coverage: 3D Cities: Envisioning Communities of the Future

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Cities worldwide are charged with the same challenge: that of creating or retrofitting sustainable, intelligent infrastructure. Cities need the best in design, geospatial, visualization and analytical tools to realize a viable and intelligent city design. 3D City design is architectural design times thousands, plus it must have the ability to be interwoven with other surrounding infrastructure and foster an urban conversation.

CyberCity 3D

CyberCity 3D

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Bentley’s “Year in Infrastructure 2014” announces new geospatial releases

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

In the “Utilities and Government” breakout session on Media Day at the Bentley “Year in Infrastructure 2014” event held in London last week, a number of Bentley executives spoke on various aspects of utilities and government, with new developments for 3D cities.

Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2014 Conference, London

Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2014 Conference, London

The event showcases work being done with Bentley Systems’ software, with presentations by all the Be Inspired Award finalists for the year, topped off by a gala Awards ceremony on Wednesday evening.

Cyndi Smith, senior director of Application Advantage at Bentley, introduced speakers. Aidan Mercer, senior industry marketing manager for Government spoke on “Advancements in Government and Life cycle Management of Infrastructure.” He also spoke about “Advanced BIM for cities,” which includes the various BIM levels used in 3D cities: Level 1: 3D visualization and design; Level 2: performance improvements; Level 3: extending into the operations at the complete asset level and this contributes to a smarter city. He mentioned a really excited finalist in the BE Awards this year, the City of Eindhoven, a city that uses MicroStation, Descartes, ProjectWise, and Navigator in its development of new city infrastructure.

Know What’s Underground

Rachel Rogers, Applications Advantage for Civil, Geospatial, Hydraulics and Hydrology, announced Bentley Subsurface Utility Design and Analysis in OpenRoads will be available in early 2015, and will be a game changer in terms of knowing what’s underground.

The product automatically creates a 3D model and brings together the information needed, provides 3D modeling of all underground utilities, that you can readily update into your GIS database. This gives you a true picture of what’s underground.

One of the highlights is that you have visualization clash detection which can drive construction costs down.

Utility Industry with Cyndi Smith

An industry trend seen recently: convergence. “With the convergence of information technology and operations technology, some projects I’m seeing are bringing in engineering technology,” said Smith.

Better utilities performance catalyzed by:

  • Drivers and enablers
  • Smarter networks and technology
  • Regulations
  • Economic factors
  • Organizational evolution
  • Results better performing utilities infrastructure

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Special Coverage: UAS: Disruption in the Skies

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Unmanned Aerial Systems is one of the disruptive technologies of this century. Whomever would have thought that small flying planes, that look very much like the hobbyist planes that people fly remotely, would someday take the role of carrier pigeons in delivering packages and also providing aerial surveillance, both on a government and citizen level.

Trimble UX5

Trimble UX5

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