Glossary of terms

Achieving a common terminology is a challenge. The following glossary of terms, represents a central reference point for the Natural Hazards Partnership. There will be exceptions given the diversity of research. However, this glossary provides a common understanding for the most regularly used terms within the partnership. Note - the definition of these terms remain to be widely consulted upon and are likely to be amended and added to in the future.

Term Definition Reference
Category 1 responders Those in Category 1 are organisations at the core of the response to most emergencies (the emergency services, local authorities, NHS bodies). Cabinet Office (2013)
Category 2 responders Category 2 organisations (the Health and Safety Executive, transport and utility companies) are ‘co-operating bodies’. They are less likely to be involved in the heart of planning work, but will be heavily involved in incidents that affect their own sector. Cabinet Office (2013)
Contact Datasets Contact datasets are defined as the datasets used in a HIM to identify exposure – the point where hazard and receptor come into contact. The contact datasets could be removed from the raw datasets. Hazard Impact Framework (2017)
Damage to property Physical damage to property, infrastructure, land and environment. HIF (2017)
Danger to Life Human injury, death, loss of health and wellbeing. HIF (2017)
Denial of access Partial/total temporary loss of access to a location, facility or transport route. HIF (2017)
Disaster A serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society at any scale due to hazardous events interacting with conditions of exposure, vulnerability and capacity, leading to one or more of the following: human, material, economic and environmental losses and impacts. (UNISDR, 2017)
Exposure The situation of people, infrastructure, housing, production capacities and other tangible human assets located in hazard-prone areas. NB. Elements are referred to as Receptors in this document. (UNISDR, 2017)

Definite statement or statistical estimate of the likely occurrence of a future event or conditions for a specific area. (UNISDR, 2009)
Geographic Information System A set of computer tools for collecting, storing, retrieving at will, transforming, and displaying spatial data for a particular set of purposes. Burrough, McDonnell and Lloyd (2015)
Hazard A process, phenomenon or human activity that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, social and sconomic disruption or environmental degradation (UNISDR, 2017)
Hazard Impact Framework The Hazard Impact Framework (HIF) is a common and consistent approach to modelling and forecasting natural hazard impacts. Specifically, the HIF is a source of definitions and common concepts in impact modelling and it provides a standard series of guidelines, and where necessary, stricter protocols for building and developing Hazard Impact Models. HIF (2017)
Hazard Impact Model Hazard Impact Models (HIMs) combine data and expertise from Partners to identify the impact on populations, areas and assets from a range of natural hazards. HIF (2017)
Hazard Impact Production System A virtual system composed of multiple self-contained “modules” (the Hazard Impact Models), all conforming to a set of standards (the hazard Impact Framework). HIF (2017)
[Disaster] Impact The total effect, including negative effects (e.g., economic losses) and positive effects (e.g., economic gains), of a hazardous event or a disaster. The term includes economic, human and environmental impacts, and may include death, injuries, disease and other negative effects on human physical, mental and social well-being. (UNISDR, 2017)
Impact Library A set of pre-calculated impact information for a range of different receptors and different hazard scenarios.
The rationale for pre-calculating the impacts is twofold: it allows for rapid assessment by doing the bulk of the geographical processing in advance, and it provides a consistent and traceable baseline to aid assurance in the results.
HIF (2017)
Also referred to as Magnitude
Intensity - Physical parameters describing the severity of the hazard. For major
hydro-meteorological hazard phenomena, standards have been developed by WMO and adopted by 188 Member States for monitoring and reporting of hazard phenomena. [Source: Global Change and Environmental Hazards].
WMO (2016)
Multi hazard assessment Multi-hazard assessments determine the likelihood of occurrence of different hazards either occurring at the same time or shortly following each other, because they are dependent on one another or because they are caused by the same triggering event or merely threatening the same elements at risk without chronological coincidence. European Commission (2010).
Natural Hazard Natural hazards are predominantly associated with natural processes and phenomena. (UNISDR, 2017).
Open Geospatial Consortium The OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) is an international not for profit organization committed to making quality open standards for the global geospatial community. These standards are made through a consensus process and are freely available for anyone to use to improve sharing of the world's geospatial data.
OGC standards are used in a wide variety of domains including Environment, Defence, Health, Agriculture, Meteorology, Sustainable Development and many more.
OGC members come from government, commercial organizations, NGOs, academic and research organizations.
OGC (2016)
Probability Likelihood of an event happening. Probability is statistically higher for low-intensity hazards. Probability reflects the future frequency of occurrence of hazard event, and cannot be drawn using historical statistics alone. For hydro-meteorological hazards, probability assessments need to reflect trends related to ongoing evolutions (i.e. climate change, deforestation, etc.) [Source: United Nations University, Comparative Glossary for Core Terms of Disaster Reduction, p.16].
Raster data A regular grid of cells covering an area. Burrough, McDonnell and Lloyd (2015)
Receptor The entity that may be harmed (a person, property, habitat etc.). FLOODsite (2005)
Resilience The ability of a system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate, adapt to, transform and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, including through the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and functions through risk management. (UNISDR, 2017).
[Disaster] Risk The potential loss of life, injury, or destroyed or damaged assets which could occur to a system, society or a community in a specific period of time, determined probabilistically as a function of hazard, exposure, vulnerability and capacity. (UNISDR, 2017).
Susceptibility The potential for an area to be subject to the hazard. Susceptibility is based on examining the causative factors for the hazard and determining whether these causative factors could be present at the locations. Susceptibility does not include an indication of probability or magnitude [intensity].
Validation The process of determining the degree to which a model is an accurate representation of the real world from the perspective of the intended uses of the model. (AIAA G-077-1998(2002))
Vector data The representation of space as points, lines and polygons. Burrough, McDonnell and Lloyd (2015)
Verification The process of determining that a model implementation accurately represents the developer's conceptual description of the model and the solution to the model. (AIAA G-077-1998(2002))
Vulnerability The conditions determined by physical, social, economic and environmental factors or processes which increase the susceptibility of an individual, a community, assets or systems to the impacts of hazards. (UNISDR, 2017).
Warning A forecast provides “information” about a future situation (e.g. weather), whereas a warning is when an event (e.g. flooding) is expected. A warning is therefore a “call to take action”. Based on Environment Agency practice
Web coverage service (WCS) WCS is used to request raster (grid cell) data from a server. Analysis or display of the data relies on specialised software (e.g. GIS) at the client end.
Web feature service (WFS) WFS is used to request vector (point, line, area) data from a server. Analysis or display of the data relies on specialised software (e.g. GIS) at the client end.
Web map service (WMS) WMS handles the delivery of mapping imagery. A WMS service will typically be set up as a number of layers (with, in some cases, more than one visual style per layer) which the user / client software can choose from. The two other OGC services provide the facility to download the data underlying a WMS.