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Tools for documenting ocean bottom seismometer experiments and creating meta/data

Project description

A system for for creating FDSN-standard data and metadata for ocean bottom seismometers using standardized, easy-to-read information files

Current goal

To come out with a first version (v1.x) schema for the information files. We would like input from seismologists and ocean bottom seismometer manufacturers/facilities about what information/capabilities are missing. Existing questions can be found/modified in QUESTIONS_infofiles.rst

Information files

The system is based on “information files” in JSON or YAML format, filled in by appropriate actors and broken down into different categories to remove redundancy and simplify input as much as possible.

There are 4 main file types:

Name Description Filled by When filled
campaign Lists of stations facilities and participants, plus desired verification. NOT NEEDED FOR PROCESSING Chief scientist after a data collection campaign
network Deployed stations, their instruments and parameters OBS facility after a campaign
instrumentation Instrument description OBS facility new/changed instruments
instrument_components Description of basic components (sensors, digitizers, amplifiers/filters) OBS facility -or- component manufacturer when there are new components or calibrations

There can also be response and filter files to simplify the input of repeated elements in instrument_components files.

Only the campaign and network files are OBS-specific. The instrumentation files and their subfiles could be replaced by existing standards such as RESP files or the NRL (Nominal Response Library), but obsinfo provides a simpler and more standards-compliant way to specify the components, and it can automatically calculate response sensitivities based on gains and filter characteristics (using obsPy). obsinfo instrumentation files could also be used to make RESP-files and NRL directories, if so desired.

Python code

The package name is obsinfo, obsinfo.instrumentation and obsinfo.instrument_components contain code to process the corresponding information files. obsinfo.misc contains code common to the above modules

obspy.addons contains modules specific to proprietary systems:

  • obspy.addons.LCHEAPO creates scripts to convert LCHEAPO OBS data to miniSEED using the lc2ms software
  • obspy.addons.SDPCHAIN creates scripts to convert basic miniSEED data to OBS-aware miniSEED using the SDPCHAIN software suite
  • obspy.addons.OCA creates JSON metadata in a format used by the Observatoire de la Cote d’Azur to create StationXML


The following command-line executables perform useful tasks:

  • obsinfo-validate: validates an information file against its schema
  • obsinfo-print: prints a summary of an information file
  • obsinfo-makeSTATIONXML: generates StationXML files from a network + instrumentation information files

The following command-line executables make scripts to run specific data conversion software:

  • obsinfo-make_LCHEAPO_scripts: Makes scripts to convert LCHEAPO data to miniSEED
  • obsinfo-make_SDPCHAIN_scripts: Makes scripts to drift correct miniSEED data and package them for FDSN-compatible data centers

Other subdirectories


Contains information used by the program:

data/schema contains JSON Schema for each file type.


Contains example information files and scripts:

  • _examples/Information_Files contains a complete set of information files
    • .../campaigns contains network and campaign files
    • .../instrumentation contains instrumentation, instrument_components, response and filter files.
  • _examples/scripts contains bash scripts to look at and manipulate these files using the executables. Running these scripts is a good way to make sure your installation works, looking at the files they work on is a good way to start making your own information files.


We use standard MAJOR.MINOR.MAINTENANCE version numbering but, while the system is in prerelease:

  • MAJOR==0
  • MINOR increments every time the information file structure changes in a non-backwards-compatible way
  • MAINTENANCE increments when the code changes or the file structure changes in a backwards-compatible way

More information

information files


Use reStructuredText to modify this file.

Project details

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