Standing Committee Meeting Report Instrumentation Services

March 2015

March 24-25, 2015
The Woodlands Conference Center
Houston, Texas

Action Items

ISSC: ISSC member comments on the CEUSN WG charge are due to Woodward by April 15th. Circulate proposed composition of committee to ISSC. Both the charge and proposed membership will forwarded to BoD for endorsement.

Anderson: Follow-up with IRIS President & BoD to ensure IRIS-representative chair or vice-chair is appointed to PNSC.

Woodward: The IS Management Re-scoping Plan can be forwarded to BoD with concurrence of ISSC.

Busby: Bob Busby should continue working with TAAC on the question of 40 sps versus 50 sps sampling at the AK TA stations, and report back to ISSC with the result.

Wiens and Woodward: Compare the ISSC endorsed Quality Principles with Data Services (Tim Ahern, DS Director, and Jim Gaherty, Data Services Standing Committee Chair), and then seek BoD approval to declare this final version of the QPs authoritative.

Busby / Freymueller: The TAAC is asked to refresh / endorse current TA scoping plan.

Wiens: Task a working group (adapted from current Large N Working Group) to submit a white paper to the Board that emphasizes the science that needs to be accomplished and how the existing capabilities within IRIS cannot currently meet the observational requirements of this science, particularly related to the observation of full wavefields over a broad range of wavelengths. The draft white paper is due by May 1, 2015.


The ISSC endorses the approach, articulated in the IS-provided document, to address the capture / organization of instrument specifications, including the (re-)formation, as necessary, of an ad hoc instrumentation committee to assist with this. The point about the use of an instrumentation committee should be added to the instrument specifications concept document.

The ISSC recognizes it represents the entire suite of IRIS instrumentation activities, including multiple committees that do not have a formal “seat” on the ISSC. To this end, the ISSC recommends that the five chairs (TAAC, EMAC, PNSC, OBSIP OC, GLISN AC) who are not formally part of the ISSC: 1) be kept in all information loops (emails, etc.); 2) be asked if they want to join the webinars; 3) be informed that they can request to come to any meeting (they have a standing invitation to attend); 4) be informed that they may be requested to come to one meeting per year (e.g., spring meeting in preparation for the ISSC chair speaking for them at CoCom).

The ISSC recognizes that more experience in Large N / wavefield observing systems is necessary. To this end, the ISSC will put forward to the BoD a set of recommended activities that will address mechanisms to obtain the needed experience.

The ISSC is developing a formal recommendation to the BoD regarding the allocation of the unused TA L48 sensors, along these lines:

  • Most of the STS-2s and T-240s to PASSCAL
  • Some STS-2s, T-240s, and possibly some CMG-3Ts to other IS components
  • An open and transparent process will be developed to use or distribute remaining CMG-3Ts, with priority going to internal IRIS uses.

Short Meeting Summary

Committee members: Doug Wiens, Hersh Gilbert, Meredith Nettles (second afternoon), Gary Pavlis, Lara Wagner, Ray Russo

Others in attendance: Bob Detrick (first day), Bob Woodward, Kent Anderson, Katrin Hafner, Brent Evers, Bob Busby, Andy Frassetto, Justin Sweet

Via teleconference: Jeff McGuire, Cecily Wolfe, Andy Nyblade (for Polar discussion)

Welcome and Introductions
There was a brief discussion regarding nominal plans for the CEUSN.

Large N / Wavefields
[John Hole joined by phone]
The ISSC discussed the status of the Large N / Wavefields whitepaper.  The group reviewed the topics covered by the Large N webinars that were held between 4/21/14 and 9/17/14.  The webinars articulated the science justification for Large N capabilities and highlights will be incorporated into the forthcoming whitepaper. 

Science Interlude
Gary Pavlis provided a brief science interlude focusing on his work at Homestake Mine, South Dakota.  Pavlis and colleagues have deployed a 3-D array in this deep, extremely quiet mine. Opportunities for utilizing this site as an ultra-quiet sensor testing environment were discussed.

Sustainability Analysis
The ISSC reviewed the ongoing work within GSN and PASSCAL to analyze sustainability, and explored how this could be standardized across IS. A key point is that instrumentation has a finite lifespan and this must be specifically addressed in sustainability strategies. 

The draft CEUSN charter was reviewed. Discussion focused on uses of the CEUSN facility, particularly for understanding earthquake hazards and the implications for PGA estimates, EQ engineering issues, early warning, and induced seismicity. A list of candidate members of the working group was assembled. 

Instrumentation needs and specifications
The ISSC discussed the need for a well-defined process within IS for specifying and selecting new instrumentation.  This process should be consistent across IS and will help coordinate sustainability and recapitalization plans between all IS projects/programs. Specifications should include the full impact on lifecycle costs: procurement, evaluation, deployment, and long-term O&M.

Dirt-to-Desktop (D2D)
The ISSC discussed the concept of D2D – streamlining the handling of data and metadata from installation / collection to the researcher’s desktop.  In terms of instrumentation, one key component is having “self-aware” systems that aid in capturing metadata (e.g., sensor serial number, type).  Streamlined handling of metadata becomes even more critical with Large N experiments.

[Andy Nyblade joins by phone]
IRIS representation on the Polar Network Science Committee was discussed. The future of POLENET was discussed and mentioned as a topic for the upcoming SAGE/GAGE workshop.  The committee reviewed the process of providing Polar support commitment letters, along with budget min/max estimates.  PIs have expressed some concerns about how the min/max numbers are interpreted by reviewers. The status of GEOICE sensor testing was reviewed, including the experience with two units installed at South Pole as of February 2015. 

Large N Prototype System
A strategy to prototype Large N capabilities was presented.  The model presented would include the use of nodal-style instruments over a period of a few years. The goal of the proposed efforts is to provide experience in the science and instrumentation aspects of Large N experiments.

OBSIP Program
The committee was briefed on the OBSIP program structure. The recent OBSIP review conducted by NSF was summarized. The ISSC discussed strategies for erasing the “waterline”, making it easier and more consistent to conduct seismological experiments whether offshore or onshore.

Lower 48 TA sensor reallocation
The ISSC worked on developing a specific plan for the reallocation of lower-48 TA sensors.  Some stations have already been transferred out of TA to CEUSN.  TA Alaska needs sensors, leaving some sensors available for reallocation. The ISSC discussed how sensors could be allocated and where they would have maximum impact. IRIS staff took an action item to estimates of IRIS internal utilization of these sensors.