SPIDER Thematic Partnership LAC: 3D-UDOP Geo-viewer for Guatemala

Using the 3D-UDOP Geo-viewer to enhance situational awareness of seismic risk in Guatemala

Guatemala is a country exposed to a variety of hazards including earthquakes. Located at the intersection of three tectonic plates, the country is prone to large earthquakes such as the one which took place on 4 February 1976, which killed more than 23,000 people and affected nearly five million inhabitants.

To illustrate the capacity of geo-viewers for enhancing situational awareness concerning seismic risk in Guatemala, the United States Southern Command, Thermopylae S+T of the United States, the National Coordinating Agency for Disaster Reduction (CONRED), Mariano Galvez University, and the Center for Natural Disaster Research and Mitigation (CIMDEN) from Guatemala joined forces to upload the corresponding information into the 3D-UDOP geo-viewer. Once the information was uploaded, the 3D-UDOP was showcased in two activities: the 2nd Session of the Regional Platform for Disaster-Risk Reduction of the Americas organized by ISDR, the Civil Protection System of the Government of Mexico and other partners, and in the Earthquake and Volcanic Eruption Simulation organized by CONRED, the Central American Coordination Center for Natural Disaster Prevention (CEPREDENAC) and the US Southern Command. The effort was conducted under the umbrella of the SPIDER Thematic Partnership for Latin America and the Caribbean, and it showcases the added value of such partnerships that include a number of actors bringing together their expertise on a certain topic.

Institutions involved in this activity included:

UN-SPIDERCoordination of all activities conducted by Partners
Elaboration of awareness material (Spanish & English) for the UN-SPIDER Knowledge Portal and for distribution during events in Guatemala and Mexico (Regional Platform Meeting).
Mobilization of a staff member to attend both the simulation (Guatemala) and the Regional Platform Session (Mexico).
Thermopylae S+TRe-structuring the layered structure of the 3D-UDOP to include case studies such as this Guatemalan case study.
Uploading of information generated by partners into the 3D-UDOP.
Mobilization of a staff member to present the 3D-UDOP during both the simulation (Guatemala) and the Regional Platform Session (Mexico).
CONREDTransformation of layers of information into KML format for uploading.
Arrangement of two in-house presentations of the information contained in the 3D-UDOP (Risk Management Section and Emergency Response Section).
Presentation of information during the simulation event (Guatemala).
CIMDENProvision of information on vulnerability of the housing sector, elaboration of such information at the municipal level.
Provision of content material for the elaboration of awareness material.
Mariano Galvez UniversityDevelopment of algorithms to transform data regarding the simulated earthquake magnitude to intensity levels in municipal districts.
Arrangement of a presentation (lecture) to faculty members and engineering students at this University.


This task will allow staff from CONRED to visualize seismic risk in a more precise fashion, in particular to recognize geographical regions or groups of municipal districts where seismic risk is high in comparison to other regions of the country. The simulation with the 3D-UDOP displayed the capacity to elaborate and display scenarios of impacts in case of earthquakes, which could assist staff devoted to emergency response to pinpoint which municipal districts may be more severely affected than others throughout the country.

For Mariano Galvez University, this task facilitated the recognition of additional research needed to improve the assessment of seismic risk in the country, as well as to envision the conduction of research in other hazards such as volcanic eruptions and floods, where such procedures are still lacking.

For UN-SPIDER, this activity has demonstrated the potential of the SPIDER Thematic Partnership for Latin America and the Caribbean as a structure to facilitate the cooperation of partners towards the conduction of specific activities.

Next Steps

While an initial demonstration of the 3D-UDOP has been achieved through both the events in Guatemala and in Mexico, additional activities have already been identified during discussions with partners while on mission in Guatemala: Researchers at CIMDEN will update the information on vulnerability of the housing sector based on feedback provided by experts from Mariano Galvez University. Researchers at Mariano Galvez University will systematize the information regarding the geology of the country to assign added intensity values to each municipal district of the country for further uses.