Data Services Newsletter

Volume 11 : No 4 : Winter 2009

IRIS DMS Conducts Metadata Workshop in Cairo, Egypt

Metadata Workshop Participants
Figure 1: Metadata Workshop participants

Among IRIS DMS’ charges is the goal of expanding the contributions from seismic networks around the world. The current environment is one where political problems can be solved for many networks but the technical challenges of producing data in FDSN SEED format is formidable. With this motivation the IRIS DMS Sponsors Metadata workshops around the world to assist network operators in producing the metadata needed in SEED to describe their networks.

The metadata workshop takes place in three regions of the globe, 1) Africa Middle East, 2) Central and South America, and 3) SE Asia. The First Metadata workshop took place in Palmanova, Italy in 2005 and brought together seismologists from the Africa and Middle East Region. In July 2006, the second Metadata Workshop took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil bringing together seismologists from the Americas. The 3rd Workshop took place in October 2007 in Malaysia with participants from SE Asia. The latest workshop just concluded taking place in Cairo, Egypt in November 2009. This workshop had about 35 participants from 25 countries. The National Research Institute for Astronomy and Geophysics hosted this workshop.

Cairo Meeting Logo
Figure 2: Cairo meeting logo

Participants were treated with outstanding lectures from subject experts that included:

  • Noel Barstow – Installation Procedures of Seismic Stations and Quality Assurance
  • Professor Erhard Wielandt – Feedback Seismometry and Calibration
  • Professor Joachim Wassermann – Digital Filtering Techniques
  • Reinoud Sleeman – Data Acquisition Systems
  • Rick Benson – SEED format and Quality Assurance
  • Rob Casey – Portable Data Collection Center Software (PDCC)
  • Chad Trabant – Nominal Response Library
  • Professor Goran Ekstrom – Scientific Uses of Modern Data

The central focus of the workshop was to train people in the use of the PDCC software. With considerable time for hands on training, this was the first workshop where all participants were able to create complete, custom descriptions of at least a subset of stations in their respective networks during the group exercises. The PDCC software has been improved considerably since its last version and now utilizes a Nominal Response Library Tool (NRL Tool) that allows network operators to build response metadata for their network stations by simply answering configuration related questions.

One of the highlights of the workshop were a series of network reports presented by participants from Africa and the Middle East. These reports identify the current state of the art in the region and address issues related to local processing procedures as well as data exchange.

The workshop was a tremendous success not only by aiding seismologists in Africa and the Middle East in developing skills to manage their network’s metadata but also potentially opening up international access to considerable amounts of data from the modern networks now being deployed in this part of the world.

Worskhop Countries
Figure 3: Workshop participant location map

Participants at the Metadata workshop came from 25 different countries and met in Giza, Egypt for this 8 day workshop.

Great Pyramids Group Photo
Figure 4: Great Pyramids group photograph

Participants were treated to a half-day visit to the Great Pyramids located in Giza, Egypt. This included a heart-pounding climb into the sarcophagus vault inside the Great Pyramid of Cheops.

More information about the workshop

by Tim Ahern (IRIS Data Management Center)

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