GMS engineers departed for Mexico City on Monday to be joined by remaining members of the Applied Technology Council (ATC) reconnaissance team reviewing the aftermath of the 9/19/2017 earthquake. The goal of this reconnaissance mission is to perform detailed assessments of reinforced concrete structures with all levels of damage. The reconnaissance will focus on identifying the likely cause of collapse in concrete buildings that performed poorly, and the likely cause of good performance in non-collapsed buildings in the immediate vicinity.

The team made careful preparations to ensure safety in the field, improve and streamline the data collection effort, and to best organize the findings for digital report and map delivery. This includes considering the role of social media in organizing field team groups, smartphones, and GPS cameras. Apart from standard telephony, the team’s communication uses WhatsApp Messenger and Find My Friends applications. Members transported their own safety equipment from the U.S. including hard hats, vests, steel-toe boots, air masks, flashlights, first aid kits, as well as documenting supplies, cameras, GPS, and measuring instruments. Our engineers conscientiously selected a hotel that is both close to the team’s base of operations at the WSP Mexico City office, but also outside of the lakebed area in which the earthquake shaking had the worst impacts.

The goal each day will be to gather information about the structural damage of reinforced concrete structures. At the end of the day the group will meet to share the general findings as well as to have a plan in set for the following day.

Check back for updates on our team’s daily activities and findings.