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NYCEM Researchers Assist Engineering Efforts in
Aftermath of World Trade Center Disaster

 Princeton researchers devel-
oped a 3-D representation of the inspected areas in lower Manhattan.

Researchers participating in the New York City-area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation (NYCEM) are continuing to complete HAZUS-based scenario studies for a broad region encompassing metropolitan New York and New Jersey. This is being accomplished through a systematic integration of building inventory data and a more accurate characterization of soil type and distribution. The intended outcome of the project will be a regional loss estimation model that can project economic losses for the area in the event of a damaging earthquake. The modeling capability of HAZUS as refined by the NYCEM study is meant to assist public officials, emergency managers and others in earthquake-related planning and decision-making. NYCEM is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, New Jersey Office of Emergency Services and New York State Emergency Management Office, and coordinated by MCEER. For details, visit

NYCEM researchers were well-positioned to assist engineering efforts in the aftermath of the September 11th disaster at the World Trade Center complex. A structural damage assessment survey of 406 buildings was conducted to determine their safety. The survey was conducted by approximately 60 engineers from the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) at the request of New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R). 

NYCEM researcher and SEAoNY member Guy Nordenson was able to draw upon the NYCEM building inventory database which was originally provided to NYCEM by the city's Department of Finance. Aided by Princeton Professor George Deodatis and Michael Tantala, Ph.D. student, packets were prepared for the engineers containing maps, checklists for each building including the address, block and lot numbers, size and other pertinent data. Using this information, the engineers conducted rapid visual inspections followed by detailed evaluation of the damaged buildings. Data collected was then transferred to a general map defining areas of damage. Mr. Nordenson, Professor of Engineering and Architecture at Princeton University, indicated that a repeat of the rapid visual screening would be conducted and refinements made to the GIS-based damage inventory. A 3-D representation of the survey area was also developed by the Princeton team to help illustrate inspection areas. 

SEAoNY was established in 1996 to provide a forum to address the unique interests of structural engineers, and other professionals outside the engineering community. Membership includes individuals from most major structural engineering design firms in the New York Tri-State Area. For more information, check their web site at

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