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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What counts as a "retrofit"?
A: Seismic retrofits vary in their scope and intent, from the simple task of strapping a water heater to major construction projects. For this map, we're primarily interested in work that changes a building's structure to make it perform better in earthquakes (as opposed to, say, bracing bookshelves). You can use the Description box to tell others what your retrofit involved. Also, the focus is on retrofits completed after the Loma Prieta earthquake of October 17, 1989.

There's no limit on the type or size of the building -- even bridges or pipelines could be added, though they're not our focus. Your retrofit could have been done voluntarily, or because of building code requirements, or to comply with a special ordinance. Some common examples you'll find on the map include:
  • Houses with anchor bolts and plywood sheathing installed in the crawl space.
  • Brick buildings retrofitted to comply with various ordinances for unreinforced masonry.
  • San Francisco City Hall, Oakland City Hall, and other major institutional and commercial buildings, public and private.
Q: What doesn't count as a "retrofit"?
A: Earthquake risk reduction takes many forms. It's a good idea to strap your water heater, brace tall furniture so it doesn't tip over, secure fragile objects, make an earthquake kit and emergency plan, and maybe even buy earthquake insurance. But those efforts are not the focus of this map, so please only add projects that involve some structural work.

Q: Why do I have to enter an email address? Are you going to spam me?
A: We won't sell, distribute, publish, display, or otherwise share your email address. It's only needed to link you with the points you add to the map, so you can go back to edit them, add photos, or delete them later.

Q: Can I edit or delete my point later?
A: Yes. You'll need the email address you provided when you first added the point.

Q: How do I edit my point, add info, or add a photo?
A: Just click on the point and select the "Edit" link in the pop-up box.

Q: Can anyone else edit my project info?
A: Someone who enters your email address on the Edit page for your project will be able to edit or delete its information. In addition, EERI reserves the right to delete any information that is outside the intended scope or spirit of earthquakeretrofit.org, including information or messages known to be incorrect, misleading, defamatory, obscene, harassing, overtly commercial, or otherwise interfering with the intended use of the site by others.

Q: Do I need permission from the building's owner to add a point?
A: Maybe. Users are responsible for ensuring the information they add to the map, including photographs, is properly obtained, sourced, and displayed. Please see the site Disclaimer for more information.

Q: I think someone else's project information has an error. What should I do?
A: For now, you should contact us (see the Contact Us tab at the top of this page). Later, we might add a feature that will allow users to contact each other.

Q: I want to learn more about one of the points. How can I see who entered it?
A: We can not disclose the names or contact information of other users.

Q: Who created earthquakeretrofit.org?
A: Earthquakeretrofit.org was created by staff and volunteers of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute using mapping software and data created by google.

Q: Who owns the data and photos added by users?
A: The data, including uploaded photos, is stored on the server of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, which hosts the map and its website. EERI might create and post summaries of the map data to track its growth, but will not publish or distribute the information from any particular point.

Q: Is anyone making money from this site?
A: No. The map and website are hosted and administered as a community service by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute in Oakland.

Q: Who is responsible for the correctness of the data?
A: Each user is responsible for the information he or she provides. Please see the site Disclaimer for more information.

Q: May I name my firm in the Description box?
A: Yes. We encourage users to share their projects with pride, as long as the message is not a solicitation of business.

Q: May I name someone besides me (like the owner, tenant, etc.) in the Description box?
A: Each user is responsible for the information he or she provides. Please see the site Disclaimer for more information.

Q: How can I get a copy of the compiled data?
A: We can not disclose any data except that which individual users have provided for display. We can not provide copies of the database. Eventually, we might post or publish summaries of the data.

Q: I'm having technical problems. Whom should I contact?
A: Please see the Contact Us tab at the top of this page.