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AuthorsTosi, P.* 
Sbarra, P.* 
De Rubeis, V.* 
Ferrari, C.* 
TitleMacroseismic Intensity Assessment Method for Web Questionnaires
Issue Date2015
Series/Report no./86 (2015)
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.04. Ground motion 
04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.06. Surveys, measurements, and monitoring 
05. General::05.01. Computational geophysics::05.01.05. Algorithms and implementation 
AbstractMacroseismic investigation with data collected through web- based questionnaires is today routinely applied by most impor- tant seismological institutions, such as the U.S. Geological Survey (; last accessed December 2014), British Geological Survey (http://www.; last accessed December 2014), European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre ( choose_earthquake.php?lang=en; last accessed December 2014), Schweizerische Erdbebendienst (http://www.seismo.ethz. ch/eq/detected/eq_form/index_EN; last accessed December 2014), Bureau Central Sismologique Français (http://www; last accessed December 2014), and the New Zealand GeoNet project ( quakes/; last accessed December 2014). The wide diffusion of Internet and the citizen collaboration (crowdsourcing) allow documentation of information on seismic effects and production of a macroseismic field with low costs and almost in real time. Transformation from qualitative information (as given by ques- tionnaires) to numerical quantification is a crucial issue. In the traditional evaluation of intensity, experts used to work through a complex comparison of effects basically driven by personal expe- rience. The major problem with this approach concerns the dif- ficulty in verifing and reproducing the evaluation process due to the lack of a detailed explanation of the employed workflow and to the large variability of possible cases. On the other hand, an automatic method for the estimation of macroseismic intensities needs to be completely well defined and specified in order to be reproducible and verifiable. For these reasons, this paper presents a comprehensive explanation of our intensity assessment method. A useful automatic method for intensity assessment should be computationally fast and strictly follow the macroseismic scales. To meet these requirements in 2010, we proposed a method that firstly quantified the effects using additive scores associated with each answer of the questionnaire item and then determined an intensity estimate for each questionnaire (Sbarra et al., 2010). After a trial period and having collected more than 500,000 questionnaires, we were able to thoroughly test the method. As a result of this testing, we describe here a new improved method that takes into account further factors, such as the situation and the location of the observer (Sbarra et al., 2012, 2014), to obtain a more accurate estimate of the macroseismic intensity degree at the municipality level. In this paper, we show some applications of our method with reference to the Mercalli–Cancani–Sieberg (MCS) scale, because this scale has long been used with Italian earthquakes and allows easy comparison between these intensities and other traditional ones.
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