Lower Hutt will soon be able to electronically monitor ground shaking beneath some of its key buildings during an earthquake.
Dr Laura Sessions, Hutt City Council’s Science and Technology Manager, says the seismic monitoring system called EQRNet is being trialled across Lower Hutt as part of council’s Smart Cities programme. “This seismic resilience service will provide us with information about how council structures perform in an earthquake. We have selected ten buildings for the six-month trial. Data from a city-wide sensor network will be translated into reports on how ground motion varies across the Lower Hutt region in an earthquake.
“This is new information for our council and will be invaluable in terms of assessing whether buildings need to be evacuated or if they are safe to re-enter. EQRNet provides real-time, practical information and this will help improve our emergency management processes. Whilst we currently receive information on how strong an earthquake is and where the earthquake is located, we do not have fine detail on how ground motion varies across a small area, nor its effect on buildings. We expect the information that will be available to us throughout the trial will be very useful in understanding how earthquakes might affect the region as a whole and how we can best respond in an emergency situation.”
Extra sensors will be placed around Lower Hutt during the trial. EQRNet’s cloud processing system gathers and analyses the sensor data to produce a ground response spectrum for each individual building, directly comparing ground shaking to the building’s design code strength. Results are sent immediately to Hutt City Council staff. Area-wide information is also instantly available for emergency management teams. This is all available on an easy to interpret App.
“Potentially, such a system could also be used for priority assessments of below-ground infrastructure to help direct resources and to ensure staff know what assets need to be checked as a priority,” says Laura Sessions.
Len Damiano, General Manager of Canterbury Seismic Instruments (CSI), the company that has developed EQRNet, says EQRNet’s seismic resilience service is a world first, and a direct response to the lessons of the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes. “We make cities safer. EQRNet provides earthquake response information to cities, guiding first responders, engineers, building owners and the public, saving lives and improving economic resilience. EQRNet sets the global standard for a new level of earthquake response and building safety”.
“We are looking forward to showcasing EQRNet at Te Wā Heke Festival on 24 and 25 May at the Lower Hutt Events Centre,” says Hamish Avery, Chief Technical Officer of CSI. “Visitors to Te Wā Heke will be able to interact with EQRNet and see for themselves our city-wide web of microdata in real time.”
The trial of EQRNet started in Lower Hutt this month.
Sensors are in the following locations.
Walter Nash Hub Taita, McKenzie Baths Petone, The Settlement Petone, Petone Settlers Museum
Hutt City Council Admin Building Lower Hutt, War Memorial Library Lower Hutt
Pelorus Sports House Seaview, Animal Services Seaview
NaeNae Bowling Club and Koraunui Stokes Valley Community Hub