GeoNet delivers a modern geological hazard monitoring system for New Zealand. It’s the result of a partnership, established in 2001, between EQC as investment manager and GNS Science as technical manager.
Helping to build a safer New Zealand
GeoNet’s team of skilled staff uses a network of over 600 sensors spread across New Zealand to detect, analyse and respond to natural hazards as they happen. As well as earthquakes, GeoNet monitors volcanic activity, large landslides, tsunami and the slow deformation that precedes large earthquakes.
Independent reviews have repeatedly recognised GeoNet for its innovation and for creating long-term benefits and value to New Zealand and the international community. The GeoNet app, which provides instant data about earthquake and volcanic activity, is widely used and an important public education tool.
For more than a decade GeoNet has helped EQC to better assess the risks associated with natural hazards in New Zealand. Ultimately, this contributes to EQC successfully reducing the reinsurance cost to New Zealand, which enables EQC to maintain affordable natural disaster levies for householders – currently 15 cents for every $100 of cover.
One of the principles behind EQC’s funding is that GeoNet’s data must be made freely available, and over the years GeoNet has fostered a solid platform for research. This rich source of data has attracted some of the world’s leading experts to focus on the natural hazards risks in New Zealand – benefiting New Zealand as well as the international research community.
GeoNet data is used by a diverse community that extends well beyond the original partnership of EQC and GNS. They include the Department of Conservation, the transport agency, air traffic control and airports, ports, power providers and water suppliers, forest owners, prisons, insurers, reinsurers, developers and engineers.
GeoNet had an extensive network in Canterbury to monitor the effect to Christchurch of an earthquake on the great Alpine Fault. The beginning of the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence triggered a rapid network expansion and the February 2011 earthquake has become one of the best recorded earthquakes in human history. The value of GeoNet’s data was recognised, enabling decisions relating to building reconstruction, engineering standards, defining red zones and rockfall zones and reinsurance to be informed by science.
Around 70% of EQC’s research funding goes to GeoNet. In late 2015, we committed to a further five years of funding, increasing from $11.6m in 2016 to $13.2m in 2021. The increased funding is to upgrade and develop existing systems.
The Department of Conservation and Land Information NZ have provided funding to GeoNet since 2002. This funding enables GeoNet to operate an eruption detection system on Mt Ruapehu, to measure land deformation (through continuous recordings supplied by a GPS geodetic network), and to detect tsunami landfall.