Data Services Newsletter

Volume 22 : No 2 : Summer 2020

New Tools for Managing the Exchange of Seismic Metadata

Accurately exchanging seismic metadata is fundamental to the replication of scientific results and data-driven decisions. While the accuracy of seismic metadata archived at IRIS is the responsibility of the data provider, cursory validation checks have always been made prior to archiving the metadata.

In 2013 the International Federation of Digital Seismographic Networks (FDSN) adopted StationXML as a replacement and extension of dataless SEED 2.4 and as the new standard for seismic metadata. IRIS supports this new standard and has developed software that helps users transition to this format. One tool converts dataless SEED to StationXML (stationxml-seed-converter) and another tool validates StationXML (stationxml-validator).

IRIS developed the stationxml-seed-converter to transform metadata from dataless SEED to StationXML and vice versa. Although dataless SEED metadata are still accepted by the IRIS DMC, users are encouraged to transition to StationXML. As seismic applications become more reliant on StationXML and its extensions to dataless SEED, the case for switching from dataless SEED to StationXML becomes compelling.

The stationxml-validator helps users create and update StationXML metadata so that it is consistent with the best practices in seismological data exchange. At the DMC, the validator is automatically applied to all metadata that IRIS receives from data providers. Dataless SEED submissions are automatically converted to StationXML prior to validation. If metadata fail a validation rule, they are rejected and detailed feedback outlining the errors are returned to the data submitter. DMC staff provide support for correcting metadata that fail validation tests. This validation step greatly enhances the DMC’s ability to detect metadata issues, and has already proven to be effective at finding and correcting errors prior to the metadata being stored in the IRIS archival system.

by Timothy Ronan (1) , Yazan Suleiman (2) , Rick Benson (3) , Chad Trabant (1) and Jerry Carter (4)

  • (1) IRIS DMC
  • (2) IRIS Data Management Center
  • (3) IRIS-DMC
  • (4) IRIS
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