NHERI RAPID: State-of-the-Art Natural Hazards Research Equipment

Published on November 15, 2018

During a four-day intensive training at the RAPID facility in July, researchers from across the country learn how to operate the Z-Boat 1800. (Photo: University of Washington)


It may look like a toy boat, but the bright yellow Z-Boat 1800 has an important mission: capturing underwater topography for damage assessment following natural disasters. The small boat is one of more than 300 pieces of data-gathering equipment now available to researchers throughout the world.

To develop more resilient communities, the Natural Hazards Reconnaissance Experimental Facility officially launched in September to enable the collection, assessment and archiving of high-quality perishable data in the aftermath of disasters. Funded by a five-year $4.1 million Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) grant from the National Science Foundation, the center is the first of its kind in the world.

“This is going to transform natural hazards reconnaissance research by making a collection of state-of-the-art equipment available to a wide community of researchers from across the country,” said CEE professor Jeff Berman.

Headquartered in Civil & Environmental Engineering, the center is led by principal investigator and professor Joe Wartman, working in collaboration with Berman and chair and professor Laura Lowes. The interdisciplinary team includes research scientist Scott Miles from Human Centered Design and Engineering, professor Ann Bostrom from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, software development from Applied Physics Laboratory and researchers from the University of Florida, Oregon State University and Virginia Tech.

Read the FULL STORY at the University of Washington newsroom.