Joint Workshop on Open Standards for Risk Data


On March 30th 2021, GFDRR and OASIS LMF held a joint workshop on open standards for risk data. The objective of this workshop was to bring together experts to strengthen the commitment to open risk data standards in the private and public sectors, to analyse areas of synergy between (Re)Insurance and developing country needs, and to develop a collaborative roadmap for improving risk data standards for open climate and disaster risk analysis improving efficiency for all. 

You can watch the video recording and download presentations from the workshop.


GFDRR Risk Data Library Project

The RDL standard makes risk data easier to find, access and exchange, to make understanding and reuse of that data more efficient. It provides a common data standard for hazard, exposure, vulnerability and risk data. Use of the standard will promote more routine sharing of risk data and integration into decision-making. 

The Open Data Standards Initiative

The Open Data Standards Initiative oversees the development of the Open Exposure Data (OED) and Open Results Data (ORD) standards. They aim to provide more efficient data processing and transfer for catastrophe risk modelling, and support application of open risk modelling in an open-source model-agnostic data format.

Workshop background and objectives

The Risk Data Library Standard and ODS have developed in parallel, with two driving applications: respectively, the increased consistency and improved access to risk data generated and used in the development sector for Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance (DRFI); and the need to improve efficiency in transferring exposure and results data around the reinsurance market, and support open catastrophe risk modelling. There are audiences for risk data beyond these applications, and convergence in the need for risk data standards. 

The workshop objectives were to: 

  • Strengthen commitment to open risk data standards
  • Analyze areas of synergy between (re)insurance and developing country needs
  • Develop a collaborative roadmap to improving open risk data standards and promote open climate and disaster risk modelling
  • Requires practical suggestions to harmonize data standards where appropriate - for example, working towards a common open risk data standard framework?

The workshop was attended by 50 people from the development, humanitarian, and reinsurance sectors, academia and the open data community. After introduction to the projects - the problems they address and solutions offered - participants joined one of four breakout sessions to discuss use cases, required capabilities and potential collaboration on open standards for hazard data, infrastructure assets, socioeconomic exposure and vulnerability, and impacts and losses. Using the key takeaways below, ODS and GFDRR will prepare a roadmap for collaboration, to address the use cases, requirements and benefits highlighted.


Key Takeaways

The benefits of an open standard for hazard data include:

  • Improving the validation and evaluation of models - which can support adoption of new models. Future discussion should address enabling data interoperability between RDL/ODS and exploring how RDL/ODS might align on representing uncertainty.
  • The metadata provided in RDL can assist understanding of how a model was developed and could, with some adjustment, facilitate model evaluation of the hazard component. This could be a valuable collaborative pilot project; currently ODS handles much less metadata about hazard data to support these activities than RDL.
  • There is potential for greater alignment of RDL/ODS hazard standards with the existing taxonomies including the community-developed UNDRR hazard taxonomy and JRC. The RDL team has already begun work on this.

The open standard for infrastructure assets discussion identified:

  • Use cases including cost-benefit analysis; estimation of investment costs; estimation of asset criticality; supporting future insurance of public assets. 
  • Value in an open standard to bring asset data into risk, resilience and financing projects; providing consistency of data and support to small organizations to develop data; and assisting people to find infrastructure data.
  • Challenges including complexity in infrastructure asset attributes, which can vary greatly by location and asset type, and a need to engage closely with infrastructure engineers and industries to accurately and usefully represent assets in risk models.

The open standard for socioeconomic exposure and vulnerability discussion identified:

  • A need to define the scope of the standard - socioeconomic vulnerability can be broad.
  • An opportunity to learn from recent and deep work in the seismic risk context, but a need to tailor that work to the context of other hazards, not replicate it directly.
  • Consider the humanitarian needs of a standards, not limited to insurable assets.
  • Update work done previously in the RDL project to account for advances in the last two years by other groups.

The open standard for impacts and losses discussion identified a need to:

  • Support different scales of impact for risk portfolio, infrastructure or site-level risk, aligning with scales of exposure, vulnerability and hazard data used.
  • Go beyond financial losses to support a broader range of risk outputs including modelled risk, exposed assets, empirical loss, casualties and population displacement, required to support the whole spectrum of applications including preparedness and early action.
  • Align with humanitarian data standards (HDX) and contribute to IFRC’s Crisis Data Bank.
  • Better integrate socio-economic indicators into the Open Data Standard of OASIS.
  • Define the scope and value add of RDL and OASIS as two elements of a potential and broader framework of data standards for risk results.

For more information : Pierre Chrzanowski, GFDRR, and Stuart Fraser, GFDRR,