Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice

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Click below to go to the GFZ website for Section 2.1—Natural Disasters. There, under "Completed Projects" you will see a link to follow for the New Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice (2002)

To the GFZ Section 2.1 Page

Introduction to the WWW Edition

The science of seismology depends critically on data collected at hundreds of observatories world-wide. These observatories are operated by a variety of agencies, staffed by seismologists and technicians whose training and interests vary widely. They are equipped with hardware and software ranging from very traditional analog technology to highly versatile and sophisticated digital technology. While in industrialized countries the observatory personnel normally have easy access to up-to-date technologies, spare parts, infrastructure, know-how, consultancy and maintenance services, those working in developing countries are often required to do a reliable job with very modest means and without much outside assistance.

To ensure that the data from these observatories can be properly processed and interpreted once it has been acquired and compiled, it is necessary to establish protocols for all aspects of observatory operation which may effect the seismological data itself. In addition, competent guidance is often required in the stages of planning, bidding, procurement, site-selection, and installation of new seismic observatories and networks so that they will later meet basic international standards for data exchange and processing in a cost-effective and efficient manner. The most successful such effort to date has been the Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice. The most recent edition of the Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice was published in 1979 as Report SE-20 of the World Data Center A for Solid Earth Geophysics. It was reprinted in 1982, but has been long out of print. For many years the Manual has been effectively impossible to obtain.

Seismology has undergone a technological revolution since publication of the Manual, driven by cheap computer power, the development of a new generation of seismometers and digital recording systems with very broad bandwidth and high dynamic range, and the discovery of the Internet as a vehicle for rapid, large-scale data exchange. As the seismological community switches from analog to digital technology, many sections of the 1979 Manual are becoming obsolete or irrelevant, and the Manual contains no guidance in many areas which have become of critical importance.

Therefore the Commission on Seismological Observation and Interpretation (formerly, Commission on Practice) of IASPEI initiated in 1996 a project to produce a new edition of the Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice. This project is under the overall guidance of Prof. Dr. Peter Bormann. The new edition has been published in 2002.

Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice (1979 Edition)

As a step in production of a new Manual, the IASPEI Commission on Practice recommended, at the 21st General Assembly of the IUGG in Boulder, Colorado, that the 1979 Edition be reproduced electronically, to provide a readily-available reference document for the contributors to the new edition and to other interested persons.

Conversion of the 1979 edition of the Manual to a hypertext document has been accomplished using optical character recognition (OCR) software and simple HTML authoring tools. The first step in the process was to scan all of the approximately 170 pages of the Manual. These bit-mapped images are saved in TIFF format and used as the input for OCR. It is not practical to retain for the HTML version the original formatting and page layout of the printed version, but all information in the original is reproduced, including the covers. Figures in the original Manual (including some tables) are retained as graphics converted to GIF or JPEG format for efficient transfer over the Internet.

This link will take you to the Table of Contents of the 1979 printed edition of the Manual which has been scanned and converted to HTML format. It is as faithful a reproduction of the printed version as we can produce.

New Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice (2002 Edition)

The New Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice has been published in 2002. At the present time an HTML version of the final published version is not available. Information about the hardcover publication can be found here. It can be ordered on-line.


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Date created: January 23, 1997
Last modified: August 23, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Global Seismological Services
Maintained by: Eric Bergman bergman@seismo.com