RiskScape is a loss modelling tool to support evidence-based risk assessments for natural hazards. It draws on decades of natural hazards research to model how assets (e.g. buildings and infrastructure) can be impacted by hazards, using technical vulnerability information.

RiskScape has been developed so that it can be used for a range of purposes, including for land-use planning, emergency management contingency planning, cost-benefit analysis, and hazard research, and doesn’t require you to have specialist modelling knowledge.


The RiskScape software is designed to assist organisations and researchers with estimating asset impacts and losses from natural hazards.  The software take a set of four inputs for the calculations. Each simulation uses one asset, hazard, aggregation and vulnerability layer. Impacts and losses can be estimated for many different natural hazard and asset combinations.

The tools in RiskScape enable users to easily import natural hazard models and asset inventories into the software program as layers. The software provides a framework for impact and loss modelling and standard layer attribute code that allows any RiskScape or imported layer combination to be used without need to reconfigure the software. Natural hazard exposure models and asset inventories developed specifically for RiskScape can also save time and money spent on developing these datasets for asset impact and loss modelling in New Zealand.

RiskScape software is developed through scientific collaboration between NIWA and GNS Science, organisations affiliated with New Zealand's Natural Hazards Research Platform. RiskScape's development programme is supported by two key natural hazard research projects:

  •     NIWA’s Reducing the Impacts of Weather Related Hazards
  •     GNS Science’s Geological Hazardscape programme

RiskScape model framework
RiskScape provides a modular framework to estimate impacts and losses for assets exposed to natural hazards. The software combines hazard, asset and vulnerability layers, through a data selection process, to quantify a range of economic and social consequences. This helps practitioners make informed decisions on natural hazard management activities.

Natural hazards - RiskScape currently provides for six natural hazard types:

  •     earthquakes
  •     flooding
  •     storm-tide inundation
  •     tsunami
  •     volcanic ash fall
  •     wind storm

RiskScape software is under constant development to increase the range of hazard types available.

Assets - RiskScape currently provides for nine asset types:

  •     agriculture
  •     buildings
  •     electricity cables
  •     network junction points
  •     open space
  •     pipelines
  •     roads
  •     telecommunications cables
  •     waterways

New assets will be added to RiskScape in the future.

RiskScape tools enable users to build their own hazard and asset modules, then import these for impact and loss modelling. User developed modules can be used independently or in combination with RiskScape provided modules. A planned vulnerability module builder will enable users to be completely self-sufficient in module development.

The installation of RiskScape creates a RiskScape icon/shortcut on the computer's desktop or in the Start Menu. The software provides a comprehensive User Interface.

RiskScape GUI

To find out more about software installation - see RiskScape wiki

Latest Version V1.0.3 Released 13/11/17
State of Development Released and updated
Current Development Activity RiskScape developers will continue to shape the tool by:
- Expanding the range of natural hazards to include landslides, storm surge and snow storms (among others).
- Creating new national and regional asset inventories for New Zealand, including the implementation of building and primary production asset modules.
- Developing and refining asset vulnerability models through the use of post-event natural hazard impact and loss data.

Development Contact

Ryan Paulik
Phone: +64 4-386-0601
Nick Horspool
Lower Hutt
Phone: +64 4 570 4282


Outcome Areas Economic, Environmental, Social
Management Domains Natural Hazards
Intended End Users
  • Researcher
  • Regional Council Scientist
  • General Usability
Steady State or Dynamic Unknown

Input & Output Data

Key Input Data Hazard layers, Asset layers, Loss layers, Aggreation layers
Input Data Formats Raster data (tif, ), Vector data (ESRI shapefile, csv, kml)


Open/Closed Source Closed Source
Licence Type No Licence

User Information

Operating Systems MS Windows, Mac OS X Windows (7/8/10), Mac OS X (1.8 and above), any flavour of Linux/Unix.
Software Needed For viewing and exporting detailed results in spreadsheet format a program such as MS Excel or Open Office is required. For viewing results in 3D, Google Earth must be installed
User Interface Graphical desktop
Ease of Use Easy

RiskScape Wiki - User Documentation

Support At Wiki Webpage - https://wiki.riskscape.org.nz/index.php/Overview
Christchurch Flood - https://wiki.riskscape.org.nz/index.php/Chch_Flood_-V1.0.2 (paste link into browser)
Wellington Earthquake - https://wiki.riskscape.org.nz/index.php/Tutorial-Wellington1855-EQ-V1.0 (paste link into browser)

Technical Considerations

Model Structure


Keywords natural hazards, risk assessment,
Linkages to other Models

RiskScape - Website

RiskScape Wiki - User Documentation

Envirolink Tools:

- Risk-based Land Use Planning for Natural Hazard Risk Reduction

- Defining coastal hazard zones for setback lines

Key References

Webpage of RiskScape Publications

Associated Case Studies

RiskScape - Landslide Tsunami Risk

In this case study the RiskScape software was used a part of the assessment of risk along the Wellington coastline under various submarine landslide generated tsunami scenarios.


Other Key Case Studies

RiskScape - Website Case Studies