Field: Damage-reducing technique, Natural disaster management
Global Technical function: Managing
Technical Function Unit: Data analysing, Identifying, Modelling, Networking, Software tool, Strategic planning


The project ARMONIAApplied multi Risk Mapping of Natural hazards for Impact Assessment - was funded under the Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6), a grant funding programme. The work was based on the expertise from 13 scientific partners in seven different countries and an international advisory group, networking to develop a structure for a decision support system for strategic planning and managing multi-risk situations.  The results from the project include a proposition for a comprehensive decision support system for local and national government, policy makers and land-users through a methodology that produces integrated multi-risk maps to achieve more effective spatial planning procedures in European areas disposed to natural disasters.

The proposed natural disaster management decision support system entitled “Multi Risk Land Use Management Support System” (MURLUMSS) is mapping and visualising information on up to five different natural hazards and risks, namely flooding, earthquakes, landslides, forest fires and volcano activities. The system is also modelling future climate change.  These multi-scale, multi-risk and multi-vulnerability characteristics are based on scenario-analysis, identifying different forms of vulnerability and coping capacity. This damage-reducing technique is suitable for hazard and land use management at both regional and local levels.

To test the data-analysing tool, case studies were carried out in the Arno River basin in Tuscany, Italy, as well as in England and Wales. The Arno River basin was especially suitable as the area is subject to several natural disasters such as floods, landslides, earthquakes and forest fires, and a mapping of all events but earthquakes was performed. The pilot in England and Wales gave the opportunity of testing the tool at both a regional and a national level, using already existing data sets.

An additional outcome of the project was a concluding proposal, using the lessons learned from all the parts of the project to make a policy recommendation for a “European Parliament and Council Directive on the implementation of multi-risk analysis into land use planning and management for the reduction of natural disasters”. The proposal suggested that the impact and consequences of natural events with national and cross-border effect would be reduced if common approaches were applied, also making precise recommendations for tools needed when developing the common methods.

The developed multi-risk assessment tool MURLUMSS could have been further developed within the project. The presented decision support system was not operationalized, but if it would have been the consortium imagined it as a standalone application within a platform of the information and observation system GIS. However, this planned software tool was never realized as the funding did not cover this part of the project. At the time, there was also a lack of data availability on a European level impeding a further development of the tool. The technology readiness level of the tool is therefore ranked as a 6 on the TRL scale, according to the scope of the sixth framework programme, which provides public grant partial funding for R&D . At the time of the project start, there was a lack in multi-hazard-approaching tools. However, since the two-and-a-half-year project ended in March 2007 there has been further development within the field.