Observatories and Research Facilities for EUropean Seismology
Volume 1, no 3 October 1999 Orfeus Newsletter

Minutes ORFEUS workmeeting. Birmingham, IUGG99, July 27, 1999

Attendance: 25 persons (see attached list)


  • Torild van Eck (secretary general ORFEUS) presents status ORFEUS
  • Bernard Dost (director Orfeus Data Center) presents status ODC
  • Tim Ahern (Director IRIS Data Management Center) presents specifics on IRIS with relevance to ORFEUS operation.
    - data management and future expectance
    - IRIS DMC is a global data center, Apart from collecting data from IRIS stations, the IRIS DMC is also responsible for archiving continuous data from globally distributed FDSN stations. IRIS DMC has regional ambitioins within the US, but not within the European-Mediterranean area. Regional European data are made available through cooperation with ORFEUS.
    - ORFEUS is the regional archiving center for Europe.
    - some specific cooperation issues with ORFEUS:
    • Global Spyder maintenance
    • homogenization of data access: Wilber
    • NetDC developments
    - conclusion: ORFEUS and its data center (ODC) are important for the IRIS DMC
  • Domenico Giardini (new president of board of directors ORFEUS) presents his ideas about ORFEUS/ODC (and EMSC).
    - Europe needs only one seismological center, i.e. EMSC and ORFEUS should join there operations!
    - Orfeus Data Center (ODC) should fit in a long-term strategy for data availability, i.e. we need:
    1. a permanent (seismological) data center in Europe
    2. to archive all data (continuous data preferable!)
    - ORFEUS has a co-ordination task. Optimal effectiveness of the many national networks in Europe requires integration and co-ordination.
    - Real time data access of seismograph stations within Europe should be an overall target. Principly there should be no limitations on data access due to data restriction motives or technical difficulties.
    - Where to go? Proposes to make a new plan to upgrade the ORFEUS operation.
  • Winfried Hanka (ex-president ExeCom ORFEUS and responsible for GEOFON) presents the GEOFON operation and its data center.


moderator: George Helffrich, new member Scientific Advisory Board ORFEUS/EMSC)
  • George presents his view on the situation.
    - He differentiates between two different groups of people interested in international (European) data access:
    • National needs - i.e. hazard/information/CTBTO
      arrival times, waveforms, calibration info, data embargo for crisis management, primarily rapid/short time access
    • Research needs - i.e. basic research
      waveforms, calibration, data stewardship/archiving, temporary deployments rarely short-term data access.

  • George questions:
    What is the least common denominator?
    What is the role of ORFEUS? dilemma: The usual request is: We want your data.

Lowest common denominator is the similarity of shared data - it is all broadband. A will to communicate the data must be developed, for two reasons:
  1. immediate mutual benefit to locating earthquakes and determining uniform magnitudes
  2. to establish the principle of full access to data.

Real time data access (for national needs?). Problems:
  1. technical. Implementation of procedure like rcp, AutoDRM, telephone, internet.
  2. data restriction motivated by funding considerations (MedNet as an example), as well as crisis management.
  3. rapid access may not be allowed due to the national needs of homogeneous information, i.e. a few days delay of data.
Data Archiving
  1. All data (i.e. continuous and all BB stations in Europe?)
  2. Event data
    a. from what magnitude range
    b. which stations (discussions around ORFEUS network)
  3. Temporary deployment data
Data access for research (only?).
  1. off-line (CDROM/DVD) all stations?
  2. on-line (ftp/www)
  3. NetDC, i.e. distributed data archiving center.


On archiving
  • Archiving continuous data at ORFEUS
    This requires a significant upgrading of the ORFEUS operation, i.e. significant additional funding on a regular basis. Hereby should be noted that it is presently difficult to obtain continuous European funding for ORFEUS/EMSC type of operations.
  • Gathering all BB data (events with M > 4.9)
    This is presently the goal for ORFEUS.
  • larger data centers (such as ORFEUS) should operate as a backup data center.
  • practical problems (large costs)
    with large amounts of data on CDROM/DVD and unknown factor about its usefulness. CDROM solves data permanence problem by distributing it to many sites; total loss becomes highly improbable. Different solution may lie in Internet access, since access and selection procedures are rapidly improving.

    Proposed action: ODC-volumes (CDROM with SEED event data) only for selected European-Mediterranean stations (i.e. ORFEUS network definition).

  • Data archiving of temporary deployments is presently bad.
    ORFEUS has initiated some activity towards homogeneous archiving. More actions are required.
    ODC should have a prominent role in stewardship/brokerage of BB data from temporary deployments (Soren Gregersen). Presently, data from such deployments disappears far too often in oblivion and is lost. In the USA NFS funded temporary deployments include the obligation to deliver data to IRIS (Tim Ahern). In Europe no similar requirements exist. This is unacceptable.

    Proposed action: ORFEUS board of directors should convince the funding organisations to include data saving requirements within the funding conditions.
    Provide contact info and/or prototypical letters to members of national funding agencies to encourage them to make data archiving a funding requirement.

    Proposed action: Although the ODC develops continuously reformatting tools, this activity should be pursued further with the aim to facilitate formatting to SEED.
    Many data suppliers find the data reformatting (FDSN prefers to SEED for complete relevant information) difficult and costly. Winfried Hanka offered relevant software. ORFEUS Working Group 3 should provide relevant software aids and hardware advice.

On data access for research:

  • NetDC provides (in near future) access to data from all major data centers.
    Proposed action: ODC as a data brokerage organisation. The ORFEUS board of directors should put pressure on others to provide their data to the archive. Researchers should request the data from the national networks, who do not have a priority in research needs (Tim Ahern).

On real time data access:
Proposed action: The ODC is developping and implementing procedures to improve near real time data access. This should be and is a key issue for the next year.


- Questions and suggestions were raised and needs to be worked out.
Up-date. Discussions between Chris, Domenico (and George?) about a joint action to get ORFEUS and EMSC closer (i.e. under one denominator). Bernard and Torild will present a few practical options for ORFEUS (expanding) activities. Chris and Domenico are prepared to approach Brussel for financing.

Proposed strategy:

- The Scientific Advisory Committee for ORFEUS-EMSC works out a scientific plan for the next five years addressing many of the issues, but primarily from the users point of view, i.e. what is necessary. Consultations with the president of the ORFEUS board and the ORFEUS ExeCom are encouraged.

- The ORFEUS staff works out a technical plan with two or three alternatives that consider different sets of requirements. As a basis the discussions at the work, board- and execom- meetings will be used. These alternative should provide a background for funding consultations.

- Domenico Giardini and Chris Browitt will take action in order to find funding on a more permanent basis from European sources for the operations of ORFEUS/EMSC. The SAC report and the ORFEUS staff report should provide the background material for this action.

Up-date. The EC has given a green light for the project proposal "MEREDIAN". Negotiations towards signing the contract are being worked on.

Bernard Dost, Torild van Eck, 7 September, 1999
additions by G. Helffrich, 12 October, 1999

Meeting attendance:
Bernard DostORFEUSdost@knmi.nl
Torild van EckORFEUSvaneck@knmi.nl
Reinoud SleemanORFEUSsleeman@knmi.nl
Laslo EversORFEUSevers@knmi.nl
Eystein HusebyeBergeneystein.husebye@ifjf.uib.no
Tormod KvaernaNORSARtormod@norsar.no
Johannes SchweitzerNORSARjohannes@norsar.no
Peter Vos KMS, Denmarkpv@kms.dk
Tine LarssenKMS, Denmarktbl@kms.dk
Soren GregersenKMS, Denmarksrg@kms.dk
Pekka HeikkinenHelsinki Seismolpekka@seismo.helsinki.fi
Jukka YliniemiUniv Oulu jyl@babel.oulu.fi
Paul Denton Univ Leicesterpdt@le.ac.uk
George HelffrichUniv Bristolgeorge@gly.bris.ac.uk
Domenico GiardiniETH Zuerichgiardini@seismo.ifg.ethz.ch
Damiano PesaresiCTBTOdamiano.pesaresi@ctbto.org
Anthony LomaxGeosciences AzurLomax@faille.unice.fr
Genevieve RoultGEOSCOPEgroult@ipgp.jussieu.fr
Papadimitriou Panayotis Univ. Athensppapadim@geol.uoa.gr
Thomas MeierUniv Jenameier@geo.uni-jena.de
Winfried HankaGFZ, Potsdamhanka@gfz-potsdam.de
Tim AhernIRIS tim@iris.washington.edu
Peter DavisUCSD-IDApdavis@ucsd.edu
Josep VilaInst.d'Etud. Catalansjvila@mizar.am.ub.es
Jaraslava PlomerovaGI CAS, Prague jpl@cg.cas.cz

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