International Federation of Digital Seismograph Networks

FDSN Working Group V: Portable Instrumentation

The Working Group on Portable Instrumentation was formed at the 2003 meeting of the FDSN in Sapporo, Japan. This working group will coordinate the activities of the various groups around the globe that deploy portable instruments in field experiments.

Areas of interest to the working group include:

  • promote the use of uniform data archive formats and access methods.
  • promotion of open access to data after an exclusive use period.
  • promote best practice among FDSN members.
  • develop and maintain an inventory of available equipment on the FDSN website.
  • maintain an archive of metadata about past, current and planned experiments through links from the FDSN website.
  • maintain a list of links to ocean bottom seismometer pools.

Recommended Data Format

FDSN recommend the use of full SEED or miniseed with dataless seed volumes as the preferred archive data format. This format is already in use across the seismological community and is the preferred format of the large data centres.

  • A full SEED manual is available from the IRIS website.
  • Utilities for reading (rdseed), writing (PDCC) and evaluating (evalresp) SEED volumes are also available via the IRIS website software listing.
  • Utilities for manipulating miniseed data are available in the PASSCAL software package, e.g. qmerge, mseedmod, mseedhdr.

Recommended Data Access Criteria

FDSN encourage all users of portable instrumentation to make their data available to the wider community as soon as possible. All users should archive their data with a data centre which allows rapid access to the global community. It is common practise for groups to release their data by default after a fixed period, of 0-3 years.

FDSN Network Codes

FDSN recommends that all temporary deployments are assigned an FDSN network code via the online form. These codes provide uniqueness to seismological data streams. Using these codes for all future experiments, a readily accessible database of projects undertaken by equipment pools can easily be maintained. Even if data are not archived with a data centre, the database would allow data users to find any potential collaborators who have been working in similar areas.

Available Instrumentation

Land Based

  • IRIS PASSCAL – US Seismic Instrument Centre
  • ORFEUS – A comprehensive list of mobile European Instrumentation


  • OBSIP – US Ocean Bottom Seismograph Instrument Pool
  • ORFEUS – A comprehensive list of mobile European Instrumentation

Best Practices

  • AlpArray – Technical Strategy for mobile seismological components
  • PASSCAL – Best practices

Past, Present and Future Projects

A database of temporary networks with FDSN assigned network codes can be found here.

Working Group V Meetings

YearLocationWorking Group Chair
2015 Prague, Czech Republic Bruce Beaudoin
2013 Gothenburg, Sweden Bruce Beaudoin
2011 Melbourne, Australia Alex Brisbourne
2009 Cape Town, South Africa Alex Brisbourne
2007 Perugia, Italy Alex Brisbourne

Message Center Topic: FDSN Working Group V