Using the Value of Information to decide when to collect additional data on near-surface site conditions

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When funding or conducting a seismic hazard assessment, facility owners and seismic hazard analysts need to estimate the possible added value that could be obtained by collecting additional data to inform the assessment. This added value needs to be balanced against the budget and time available for the collection of the data. In other words, they need to answer the question "Is it worth paying to obtain this information?". Conducting a Value of Information (VoI) analysis before any data collection would help to answer this question and to optimise the data collection process.

In this article, we develop and illustrate a method to assess the VoI of improving estimates of the average shear-wave velocity in the top 30m within the site-response component of a seismic hazard assessment to decide on the optimal seismic design for a reference building in Greece. The approach is based on decision trees to translate the causal relationships between the input parameters in site-response analysis and Bayesian inference to update the model when new data are considered.

The results show that VoI is highly sensitive to prior probabilities and the accuracy of the data collection method (e.g. geophysical survey). This stresses the importance of defining prior probabilities based on available information as well as only considering data collection methods that are suitable for a project’s needs and budget.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107654
Number of pages12
JournalSoil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
Early online date22 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2023


  • value of information (VoI)
  • data collection
  • Bayesian updating
  • decision-trees
  • site-response analysis
  • seismic hazard assessment


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