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Opportunity to help the Concrete Coalition in San Francisco on Saturday Feb 27th

The Concrete Coalition is looking for volunteers to help verify the basic count of pre-1980 concrete buildings for San Francisco--last fall a group of volunteers, led by Steve Kadysiewski, came up with the estimate of 3000. We now want to send out a larger group of volunteers (pairs of 2) to check some of the more densely built areas of the city, primarily downtown. We are going to do this walk-around day on SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27th, 10 am -- 2 pm, with an orientation session from 9 to 10 am.

We are going to work from color Sanborn maps, which will be given to each team of two. These maps show concrete buildings, and the teams will go out and verify if each building in fact still exists, and if it appears to be concrete. In addition, we will ask each team to answer several additional questions for each building--all things that can be determined from the street: number of stories, type of occupancy or use, vertical or horizontal irregularities--and to take a picture. Each team will look at on average 10 to 15 buildings.

ATC and FEMA have also agreed to let us use the newly developed ROVER system for our field day. ROVER is the computerized version of FEMA 154, Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic Risk. ROVER adapts FEMA 154 to operate on a Windows Mobile smartphone instead of a paper form. The advantage to using ROVER is that the information is automatically uploaded to a server, instantly creating a database for these buildings. ROVER also handles digital photos (watermarked with building name, lat/lon, date and time, etc.), digital sketches, and looks up site soil class. FEMA is loaning us 10 ROVER kits; we're looking for volunteers who also have Windows Mobile smartphones and GPS devices that could be carried around during this field day. It would be ideal if we could find enough smartphones and GPS devices so that each team can use one. The smartphone must have a touchscreen, camera, and Windows Mobile 5 or higher. Paper forms will be available for those preferring them; the forms will be transcribed into the database. ROVER is free software, so you will be able to download it and keep it on your own smartphones.

We have an eager group of 20 to 25 masters students from Berkeley, Stanford and San Jose State who will help, and we need another 40 to 50 practitioners to make the day successful. IF YOU CAN HELP OUT WITH THIS FIELD DAY, CAN YOU PLEASE RESPOND TO MARJORIE GREENE AT EERI ( BEFORE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19TH. Please also indicate if you have a Windows Mobile smartphone. We will all assemble at Simpson Gumpertz and Heger offices at One Market St, 6th Floor, San Francisco, near the Embarcadero BART and Muni station at 9 am. Because it is a Saturday, your name will need to be given to the guard first. Lunch will be provided.

If you have any questions, please contact Marjorie, Dave McCormick or David Bonowitz. We really appreciate your willingness to help us advance our knowledge of these buildings.

February 27th happens to also be the Chinese New Year's Parade in San Francisco (which starts at 5 pm), so we can guarantee a certain amount of color and excitement in downtown.

posted February 16, 2010