Seismology Observatory Coordination in the European-Mediterranean Area
2008 ORFEUS Observatory Coordination Meeting, Barcelona, Spain, 5-8 May 2008

Josep Vila1, Ramon Ortiz2, Sara Imola1, Torild van Eck3, Jan Zednik4, Peter Labak5

1 Laboratori d'Estudis Geofísics Eduard Fontserè, Institut d'Estudis Catalans, Spain
2 Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, Spain
3 Observatories and Research Facilities for European Seismology, KNMI, The Netherlands
4 Geophysical Institute, Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic
5 Geophysical Institute, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia

Starting in Prague in 2003 annual workshops organized within the MEREDIAN EC-projects by ORFEUS directed to the co-ordinating seismological network operations in the European-Mediterranean area, with preference to operational broadband stations. The 2008 Observatory Coordination Meeting held in Barcelona brought more than 100 station and network operators representing 62 institutions of 30 countries. This follows a trend of continuous increasing participation, which we believe is one of the signs that these workshops are successful. The routine analysis of the data, the normal operation of the observatories and any kind of technicalities related to rapid warning systems and software of analysis are specific subjects of the meetings. Of special interest are any aspect related to real time data exchange (satellite systems, internet data exchange, SeisComP developments...) and also any relevant issue related to the Virtual European Broadband Seismographic Network (VEBSN).

As in the previous coordination meetings, the organizers maintained the workshop idea to provide ample opportunity for ad-hoc discussions. The operators presented the status of the diverse seismic networks, mostly on posters, highlighting recent and relevant developments as well as specific advances and technicalities. The exchange of practical experiences and the coordination of developments to exchange waveform data in real-time were also key topics, all directed to improve observatory operations and coordination, but also to encourage joint developments. In this meeting the participation of Northern Africa and Eastern Mediterranean Countries were especially encouraged and promoted. The Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, ORFEUS and the Institute d'Estudis Catalans (the Catalan Academy of Science) provided grants for the attendance of participants from these countries.

The SeisComP Users Group had a special meeting during the workshop at which they released the first SeisComP3 version and provide demonstrations and training to install and operate SeisComP3. This training was provided in a dedicated room in small groups and with all infrastructures required to do so.

At the presentations special attention was give to some topics. The installation practice of BB sensors was discussed within the workshop after lectures by Rudy Widmer addressing the importance of well installed VBB stations and Marco Olivieri presenting the BB installation practice at the renovated INGV BB network.

Also relevant European and global scale observatory infrastructure developments were given attention. The EC sponsored NERIES project (Network of Research Infrastructures for European Seismology; and the German sponsored GITEWS project (German Indian Ocean Tsunami Early Warning System; being the two largest. But also the mainly Spanish sponsored project within Topo-Europe, i.e. TopoIberia ( and the Western-Mediterranean (WM) network. Within the Balkans, Peter Labak provided an overview of the developments in the Balkan and the Slovakian sponsored initiatives in former Yugoslavian countries. Liljan Vucic presented the NATO project 'Harmonization of seismic hazard maps for the western Balkan countries' ( and Nikos Melis the UNESCO sponsored project of rapid warning. The workshop presented and discussed the North-eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Tsunami Warning System initiative of UNESCO (NEAMTWS;, its progress and developments.

The participants reviewed practicalities on five core-topic sessions: (1) SeisComP users group meeting, (2) network and project overviews and special discussions on the largest Euro-Mediterranean projects (3) data exchange, station response information, and metadata, (4) seismological databases, (5) analysis software packages and quality control procedures.

The workshop is also a breeding ground for cooperation suggestions and ideas. Most of them are not documented but live on in a group to be presented at the next meetings. Some of them are worth mentioning.

  • The practicalities and added value of including continuous acceleration waveform data in the ORFEUS data archives was discussed. A pilot project involving the Swiss Earthquake Network and ORFEUS was proposed.
  • The issue of a homogeneous European rapid magnitude was taken up again. Although all are aware of the potential impact on catalogues, most networks are also keenly aware of the publicity confusion that is caused in Europe by the large variation of magnitudes reported. Consequently, we re-formed an informal group started within the MEREDIAN project by Peter Labak and others. Currently, John Clinton will lead the group also involving the EMSC. Those interested in resolving this issue in a pragmatic way are encouraged to contact John.
  • The 2009 workshop is planned in Erice , Italy . The intention is to present tools, developed in the scientific project, but with significant relevance to observatories in improving their performance. This would include, for example, shakemaps, rapid magnitude estimation, picking algorithms, moment tensor software, analysis software tools, etc. Data exchange tools like SeedLink, QuakeML and QUIDS will also be treated.
More information on the workshop can be found at, including abstracts and program, and information on how to obtain the presentations.


This meeting is part of the NERIES ( activities (EU contract nr. 026130) and has been supported, in part by the Programa Nacional de Cooperación Internacional (Acciones Complementarias Internacionales) of the Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, under grants PCI2006-A8-0619 (

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