Apr 29, 2020

Geospiza Aids in Anticipating Disaster Risk and Mitigation

Geospiza compiles data to mold and transform the way climate and disaster-risk decisions are made. 

Geospiza Geospiza combines disaster management, public safety, data modeling and software development.
Geospiza Geospiza combines disaster management, public safety, data modeling and software development.

For 15 years, Sarah Tuneberg was an emergency manager. She said her work has always been focused on how to make better decisions, whether that is using time, data or money. After her time as an emergency manager, she founded Geospiza to mold the way climate-risk decisions are made. 

Geospiza combines disaster management, public safety, data modeling and software development into two solutions to help corporations and public safety officials better understand climate and hazard risk. 

Tuneberg talked with SWS Managing Editor Katie Johns about Geospiza, how it works and why it matters. 


SWS: What does Geospiza do?

Tuneberg: Our mission is to enable customers to take action to reduce climate and hazard risk and enhance resiliency. We do that by putting data into action. We believe strongly that there are huge amounts of data about risks, particularly, but what really is important is how you drive decision making. The “what” is the data, the “so what” is visualizing the data within our application but what we’re excited about is the “now what?” What do we do with all of this and how can we do it the best we can. 


SWS: How does itwork?

Tuneberg: We have a very robust and flexible data archive and the intent was to bring huge amounts of data together in one really simple visual interface. So we have just more than 1,500 different data sets and models and sources, and 95% of them are publicly available. It looks like everything from U.S. Federal open data, like census info, centers for Medicaid and Medicare, veterans affairs information down to international localized academia- produced data, for example, we see this info about Malaysia’s projected sea level rise and real time data about IOT sensor info. It's a huge amount of info that probably is best summed up as saying anything that is population-related,  climate-related or hazard-related and then this sort of cascades to things like population and how population affects climate or climate affects population. 


SWS: Who are your target customers and audience?

Tuneberg: We are split 50-50 between government agencies in the US., mostly municipalities, and very large enterprises, so global corporations, and we are moving more and more into the corporate space.


SWS: What are the biggest uses of the data?

Tuneberg: The way our tool works, our software will sort of have three parts. First, on the back end, which nobody sees, we bring in all the data and knit it together. We then have models of vulnerability or risk, and those models pull together in a statistically significant way, based upon if you’re looking at a single-point location, if you’re looking at headquarters for a company or a new supplier and you want to understand the risks you’re facing. You can view points on a map and then you can click on various models, so you’re looking at drought, sea level rise, flooding, cyclones. We model 29 threats and hazards, and most of them are climate-related. 

Tuneberg continued: The next piece is putting that into action. We built a model called decision-pathway mapping, and it’s essentially a robust decision tree. You set a goal, and you say “here is our current state,” and you’re looking at our whole supply chain and what we want to do is make sure to avoid flooding. So, your current state is on the left and at some point, you’re going to have to deploy some sort of mitigation strategies, but you don’t have to do them all now. You might want to wait until you have more info, so you sequence those actions, not by time, but by some other metric, which might be sea level rise. We capture costs and benefit and make recommendations about what those strategies are and in what sequence you get the best cost benefit. 


For more information on Geospiza, visit geospiza.us. 

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