User and Developer Documentation for Seismic SOS

Installation Guide

Installation of the generic SOS server can be found here. Source code can be found at this svn location. Note that Seismic SOS is proxy-based and not database-based, so all PostGIS and PostGreSQL steps can be ignored. Also, the Seismic SOS source uses Maven to pull the rest of the SOS generic API as a dependency, so a minimum installation only requires the module itself. Developers may wish to download the standard SOS source code as well as a reference guide.

Server Configuration:

Once the Seismic SOS webapp is properly compiled, and uploaded to a server or servlet, you are ready to begin server configuration.

  • Step 1: Open server installation wizard
    • Click on the "here" hyperlink to enter the configuration process

  • Step 2: Upload previous configuration file (optional)
    • If you have created a server in the past and saved the configuration, you can reload it here.

  • Step 3: Choose datasource
    • This dropdown menu specifies the datasource used in your instance of Seismic SOS (currently the only option is IRIS)

  • Step 4: Setup settings
    • Here you can customize various server configuration settings. The default settings are fine for most applications, including Seismic SOS.

  • Step 5: Final step
    • Enter the admin username and password to complete the server installation.
    • This step also triggers cache loading. The cache can be reloaded in the admin tab after server installation.

Using Seismic SOS

In order to get seismic data observations with Seismic SOS, your computer will need a solid internet connection.

There are four basic operations that come with the SOS server instance: GetCapabilities, DescibeSensor, and GetOperation. Request xml formats associated with these operations are listed and explained here.

Seismic SOS specific information and/or quirks:


GetCapabilities lists valid parameters to be used in following operations. These include procedures for DescribeSensor, and offerings, procedures, featuresOfInterest, and observableProperties for GetObservation. It also contains a contents section for all offerings that contains all of the above plus valid time periods and featureOfInterext geographic coordinates.

TODO: sample contents section and explanation

GetCapabilities is quite straightforward and should only have problems if there is poor internet connection.


DescribeSensor creates a SensorML document out of various important procedure information. This includes procedure identifier, featureOfInterest, featureOfInterest coordinates, observableProperty, and time periods.

The time period attribute signifies valid queriable dates, where the sensor was online. For events, it is only one time: the time the earthquake took place.

TODO: request formats and sample output


The GetObservation operation is used to to query event and timeseries data directly. For events, the data is the magnitude for the requested event featuresOfInterest (event id). For timeseries requests, raw waveform data is returned based on the sensor (procedure) records within the given time period.

Note: Timeseries waveform data is quite dense in order to create a high resolution graph of seismic activity. These queries can take some time.

TODO: request formats and sample output

Topic revision: r5 - 29 Sep 2013, PatrickNoble
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