Group A, Poster #161, Earthquake Forecasting and Predictability (EFP)

Visual Communication of Aftershock Forecasts Driven by User Needs

Max Schneider, Anne Wein, Nicholas J. van der Elst, Sara K. McBride, Julia S. Becker, Raul R. Castro, Manuel Diaz, Hector Gonzalez-Huizar, Jeanne L. Hardebeck, Andrew J. Michael, Luis Mixco, Morgan T. Page, & Jocelyn Palomo
Poster Image: 

Poster Presentation

2023 SCEC Annual Meeting, Poster #161, SCEC Contribution #13289 VIEW PDF
The U.S. Geological Survey releases aftershock forecasts following large (M5+) earthquakes in the U.S. and associated territories. Forecasts show the expected number (and range) of aftershocks in a specified area for various magnitude thresholds and time durations. Forecasts are released using a product template that contains tables and text. Visualizing these aftershock forecasts can more effectively communicate this information. In particular, we seek to identify which forecast visualizations (including maps) can serve a variety of user groups. First, we hold workshops with members of target user groups, including emergency managers, civil engineers, critical infrastructure operators, fire...fighters, public health officials, the media, and other science communicators. In these workshops, users perform small-group activities to elicit specific user needs on the dimensions of aftershock forecast information needed by their role (informational needs) and how this information would optimally be displayed (product needs). We then develop a suite of forecast graphics and maps that align with these informational and product needs. We furthermore plan to run a user experiment to test a subset of these forecast products. In the experiment, participants from these target groups will use different forecast products to perform decision-making tasks based on common use cases of aftershock forecasts. Such an experiment can reveal the characteristics of forecast products that can effectively communicate the forecast across user groups. Workshops and experiments will be held with participants from the U.S., Mexico, and El Salvador to identify cross-cultural components of effective forecast communication. We present user needs elicited at the three workshops and discuss next steps in the research agenda.