Data Services Newsletter

Volume 16 : No 2 : Summer 2014

IRIS Data Services Sponsors the 8th Data Management Workshop in Bogotá, Colombia

IRIS Data Services conducted its 8th Data Workshop for operators of seismic networks in July of this year. These workshops are held roughly every 15 to 18 months in three geographical regions of the world:

  1. Latin and America and the Caribbean,
  2. Southeast and Central Asia, and
  3. Africa and the Middle East.

Previous workshops have been held in Palmanova, Italy (2005), Sao Paulo, Brazil (2006), Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, (2007), Giza, Egypt (2009), Foz Do Iguacu, Brazil (2010), Bangkok, Thailand (2012), and Kuwait City, Kuwait (2013). Forty-three participants and lecturers from 18 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean met for a 6 day Data Services workshop followed by a 2 day Advanced Studies Institute in Bogotá, Colombia.

Figure 1 - Group photo
Figure 1: The 2014 IRIS Data Services workshop had a total of 43 participants. This group
photo is shown with the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes Mountains as a backdrop. At
8,660 ft elevation, Bogota was breathtaking!

Alexander Caneva of Universidad Antonio Nariño in Bogotá was the local organizer for the 2014 IRIS Data Workshop. His superior support and efforts helped to make these workshops extremely successful. Our thanks to Alex.

The agenda was wide ranging, focusing on systems, tools, and techniques helpful in managing seismic networks. To provide the proper setting, consistent with the free and open data sharing policy of the International Federation of Seismograph Networks (FDSN), FDSN Chair Göran Ekstrom presented an overview of the FDSN. Dr. Ekstrom also presented several interesting scientific topics showing how data, often collected for monitoring purposes, contributes significantly to scientific research as well. Other topics covered in the Agenda included:

  • Peter Davis: Site selection, installation, and station hardware and communication systems
  • Rick Benson & Rafael Pujols: Real Time Data Techniques
  • Tim Ahern: The structure of the SEED exchange format
  • Mary Templeton: Seismic station metadata and the IRIS Nominal Response Library (NRL)
  • Rick Benson: Building station and network metadata in the dataless SEED format
  • Tim Ahern & Rick Benson: How to make use of IRIS Data Services to archive, curate and distribute waveform data and an introduction to IRIS data access services and tools
  • Tim Ahern: IRIS higher level data products
  • Bernd Weber: The Seiscomp3 network management system including FDSN web services
  • Joachim Wassermann: An introduction to Python and the ObsPy seismic analysis framework
  • Tim Ahern: An introduction to the new IRIS Data Services QA system called MUSTANG

Borrowing from a concept introduced at the previous workshop in Kuwait, the Bogotá Challenge was presented to workshop participants. In this challenge networks in the Latin America and Caribbean region that wish to participate will share data from their networks for a limited period of time. These data will be processed through the IRIS MUSTANG system to identify potential quality issues. The data will also be processed by Göran Ekstrom to estimate other quality assurance attributes including things such as correctness of sensor orientation and scaling. The results of the Challenge will be published with all participants as co-authors. 29 of the 30 participants that responded to the post workshop survey indicated that they either would participate or hoped to participate in the Bogotá Challenge. We anticipate that the Bogota Challenge will be a success as data from about 284 permanent stations in the region are already openly available from networks in this region.

Figure 2 - Virtual network for the Bogotá Challenge
Figure 2: Screenshot of the IRIS Metadata Aggregator (MDA) application
displaying the virtual network (VNET) for the Bogotá Challenge

Following the Data Services workshop the IRIS International Development Seismology (IDS) committee organized an Advanced Studies Institute (ASI) workshop. The goal of ASI workshops is to introduce participants to seismic methods to apply to their network data for understanding earthquake sources and Earth structure. The Bogota ASI introduced two techniques that have the potential to be integrated into routine operations of a seismic network and be used for research purposes. 
The two ASI lecturers were Bob Herrmann from St. Louis University and Felix Waldhauser from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Dr. Herrmann taught one track on the estimation of Regional Moment Tensors and Dr. Waldhauser taught a parallel track on using double differencing techniques for multiple event relocation. Susan Beck from the University of Arizona and Raymond Russo from the University of Florida also participated in the workshop. The ASI focused on scientific questions related to the analysis, careful examination of the results, and interpretation. All but 3 of the participants of the DS workshop participated in the ASI workshop.

More information can be found on the Workshop websites at:

Financial support for the workshop is provided by the National Science Foundation through the SAGE grant to IRIS. (NSF Grant number EAR-1261681).

by Tim Ahern (IRIS Data Management Center)