Who are we?
The Natural Hazards Partnership (NHP) is a group of 17 collaborating UK public sector organisations comprising government departments, agencies and research organisations.
The NHP provides:
- a mechanism for delivering co-ordinated advice to government and agencies responsible for civil contingency and emergency response during natural hazard events
- a forum for the exchange of knowledge, ideas, expertise, intelligence and best practice in relation to natural hazards
- an environment for the development of new services to assist in disaster response.
The NHP has set-up the Hazard Impact Model (HIM) group that is modelling the impact of a range of natural hazards using a common framework and providing operational delivery of the Hazard Impact Model outputs.
Initially HIM is concentrating on modelling the impact of 3 key natural hazards: surface water flooding, land instability and high winds – and their impacts on people, their communities and key assets such as road, rail and utility networks. The partners share scientific information and expertise in hydrological modelling, meteorology, engineering geology, GIS and data delivery and modelling of socio-economic impacts via three integrated work packages.
The partnership is currently UK-based with locations across the UK. The work of the partnership is monitored by a steering group comprising representatives from all partner organisations.
Why we need EVER-EST
The Hazard Impact Model (HIM) group involves scientists, technical/data specialists and administrators across 7 different organisations including: UK Met Office, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, British Geological Survey, Environment Agency, Flood Forecasting Centre, Health and Safety Laboratory and Kings College London.
Our first priority is to test how the EVER-EST VRE might enhance collaboration amongst the members of the Hazard Impact Model group. Currently, collaboration relies on physical meetings, teleconferences and emails. It is anticipated that the VRE can assist and improve communication by providing an easy to use and accessible online meeting place.
Impact model development requires participating partners to share large datasets of different types. These include scientific data (weather forecasts, soil moisture, ground stability) as well as socio-economic datasets. Each participating organisation has its own standard data format and restrictions on use. Sharing of these different types of data typically requires the set up of individual data sharing agreements, format conversion routines and local storage capabilities. The Hazard Impact Modelling group sees potential for the VRE to facilitate this data sharing.
Each hazard work package is developing its own Hazard Impact Model via collaboration with other partners. The development of these impact models requires strong collaborative working between scientists and technical specialists from each organisation. Model development is distributed between different partners and often requires face to face sessions so that methods can be discussed and agreed; meetings that can be difficult organise in the face of competing priorities and funding issues. The Hazard Impact Modelling group is keen to explore how the EVER-EST VRE can enhance scientific and technical development by providing a ‘virtual workspace’ where scientists and technicians can collaborate on a consistent platform, share workflows and results, and exploit the Research Object concept within Hazard Impact Model development.