Thread: Support for full-SEED ended

Started: 2020-02-20 11:38:02
Last activity: 2020-02-20 11:38:02
Jerry Carter
2020-02-20 11:38:02
Dear Colleagues,

The IRIS DMC recently ended its support of full-SEED and we wanted to thank-you for your patience and understanding through the transition. We sincerely hope that the impact on your workflows was minimal and that you have been able to take advantage of our web services to improve your interaction with the data at the DMC.

Some of you may be wondering why we ended full-SEED support, which has been a BREQ_FAST staple for decades. Unfortunately, full-SEED is no longer able to easily accommodate all of the seismological data that are archived at the IRIS DMC. For example, a full-SEED volume can only contain 999 stations, but nodal experiments are providing data to the IRIS DMC with far more than this number of stations. The DMC has had to accommodate changes in the data that we ingest while keeping within the FDSN standards and specifications and has adopted the new FDSN specifications (e.g. StationXML) so that we can evolve along with the community. We expect to continue this practice.

While full-SEED keeps the data and metadata in the same file, separating data and metadata has been a common practice for decades. In 1994 IRIS provided the capability to send the data in miniSEED and the metadata in Dataless SEED. Most of you (our users) receive your data in two separate files and many of you now use StationXML as the preferred metadata format; a practice that we encourage because it avoids the limitations of Dataless SEED.

The process for retiring full-SEED included community input through IRIS governance. Knowing that it would have an impact upon the community, we consulted with our community governance bodies to ensure community input. The IRIS Data Services Standing Committee reviewed the reasons and plans for ending full-SEED support and endorsed the action. The matter was then brought before the Coordinating Committee for review by other IRIS Directorates and finally it was sent to the Board of Directors where it received approval.

IRIS described the change in the Spring 2019 Newsletter: The article not only announces the end of full-SEED, it also includes a list of the many tools for obtaining data using our web services and an offer to help researchers with the transition. This article was followed by an email announcement through the IRIS message center list. Finally, every BREQ_FAST response that is delivered contains information on obtaining the same data using other tools. These efforts over a period of more than six months were to inform and prepare you for the impending change. If you somehow missed all of these notifications, I encourage you to read the newsletter article and contact us with any questions that you may have.

The web services that IRIS DMC provides (most of which follow internationally accepted FDSN specifications) are very powerful. Converting workflows to web services may be less painful than it might appear and has the added advantage that FDSN web services can be used at a growing number of FDSN federated data centers around the world. We estimate that the data available through these federated data centers roughly doubles the volume of data provided by IRIS Data Services.

As data standards and specifications evolve, we will continue to evolve with them, and as always, we stand ready to assist with updates to the many types of effective workflows that you have created.

Sincerely yours,

Jerry A. Carter, Ph.D.

IRIS Director of Data Services
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