User requirements of RiskScape 2.0 software and opportunities for disaster risk research in Aotearoa-New Zealand

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Thomas K-L, Woods RJ, Garlick R, Scheele FR, Coomer MA, Paulik R, Clarke LB. 2020. User requirements of RiskScape 2.0 software and opportunities for disaster risk research in Aotearoa-New Zealand. Lower Hutt (NZ): GNS Science. 83 p. (GNS Science report; 2020/10). doi:10.21420/RVDT-8R62

Abstract:
RiskScape is open-access risk modelling software jointly developed by NIWA and GNS Science, funded through their respective Strategic Science Investments Funds (SSIF) research programmes since 2004. The first versions of the RiskScape software have served as a proof of concept in Aotearoa-New Zealand and the Pacific to demonstrate how risk science can be used through a software tool to effectively model natural hazard losses and quantitively evaluate the benefits of implementing planning and mitigation options. In early 2017, the RiskScape governance group commissioned an external review of RiskScape. Challenges identified resulted in a programme of work to out-source the re development of RiskScape’s core engine, using open source technologies with a focus on workflow functionality, optimisation and performance enhancements, as well as to build a new RiskScape 2.0 user interface. This provides an opportunity to develop user experiences for RiskScape informed by end-user requirements and needs. To assess user requirements of a risk modelling tool, an online survey was carried out and workshops were held in the four main centres of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Seventy-six workshop participants and 153 survey respondents from a range of sectors and disciplines shared: tools and services currently being used in Aotearoa-New Zealand to undertake risk assessment/modelling; current challenges and opportunities around current methodologies and tools; requirements of RiskScape 2.0 functionality and desired risk modelling outputs, and requirements of a new user interface. The results indicated that a range of approaches are taken to assess ‘risk’ in Aotearoa-New Zealand, but holistic risk-based assessments seem to be seldom undertaken. Data gaps, access and best-practice standards are a major limitation; participants highlighted the need for a central risk data repository and 69% of survey respondents indicated the need for data to be provided with RiskScape in order to operate it. Overall, RiskScape 2.0 will need to be inter-operable, open-access, transparent, intuitive, flexible, collaborative, reliable, expert supported, secure, open-sourced, fast and visual to cater for differing needs across and within sectors. Success of the RiskScape software is dependent on the availability of risk data and collaboration across research institutes to fulfil the needs outlined here by the study’s participants, as well as the capability of the software to be compatible and support risk modelling methodologies. This report will help guide future development and investment decisions for RiskScape and will be useful for the wider risk community. There remains to be more engagement going forward to further define types of risk analysis (e.g. style of loss curves, etc.) in order to engage wider representation from sectors and from sectors that were under-represented here, including Pacific partners and the wider international community. As participants noted, user input will be integral in designing RiskScape 2.0 to be useful, usable and used. User requirements will change over time, so continued communication is vital. (auth)