Standing Committee Meeting Report Instrumentation Services

March 2017

Virtual Meeting Sessions (2/22, 3/1, and 3/8)

Action Items

  • Adapt existing informal SSF working group, developing a charter and suggested membership for IRIS group by the April BoD meeting.
  • For TA wrap-up, simplify discussion document and pull together feedback from TAAC and ISSC, with additional authors, and then circulate document for comment before transmitted to BoD.
  • Distribute QAAC materials to ISSC for generating feedback and tasking and membership and determine timeline for recommendations.
  • Make CoCom aware of IS Mgmt budget shortfall, ask for preapproval to apply Y4 variance to Y5.


  • ISSC endorses pilot ocean GSN station working group charge for sending to the BoD.
  • The pilot GSN working group will include a member selected by and from OBSIP oversight committee.
  • IS staff will continue to move forward with collecting, documenting, and sharing best practices for sensor emplacements.

Short Meeting Summary

Up to 21 members of the ISSC, EMAC, TAAC, IS working groups, and IS Management staff met for 3 webmeetings spanning 4 hours, 45 mins between 02/22/2017 - 03/08/2017.  

IS Overview – The sensor emplacement techniques developed for the Alaska TA have benefits to PASSCAL and the GSN. Recent technical interchange with the PIC and ASL staff may result in the long-term opportunity, after summer 2017, to use TA-developed drills either to support USGS station enhancements in North America or as a potential option for PIC users. The IS staff will work towards gathering and sharing an appropriate knowledge base of emplacement information with the community.

Cross-cutting issues across IS include common needs for next-generation acquisition systems, using deployments as platforms for portable non-seismic instruments, advancements in communications and battery systems, collaboration between the community and IRIS on optimizing mixed-mode deployments, and managing the transformation of logistics for field deployment into an efficient, well-coordinated, process-oriented system that relies more on automation.

Leaning into NGEO – There are a suite of topics, such as overlaps between methodologies and instrumentation, integrated systems for dataflow and processing, sensor emplacement strategies, and next-generation hardware, that IS programs can engage on now to prepare for NGEO. These are relevant activities that are independent of the NGEO selection outcome. Communicating instrument needs across groups is key. For instance, the PASC will reassess its design goals and need for instrument technical specs in 2017, consulting with the ISSC et al. as needed. Appropriate actions and coordination can be evolved once an NGEO selection outcome is determined.

AK-TA – The Alaska TA will be demobilized following the end of the SAGE award, and its hardware will presumably be repurposed under NGEO. A number of demobilization options, and associated cost estimates, were discussed. Although the benefits of a longer observing period were recognized, generally, the ISSC did not see a sufficient scientific value, and associated cost justification, for operating the AK-TA beyond its nominal 2019-2020 timeframe.

AK-TA and CCArray – There is considerable interest from the Canadian community and some US PIs to leverage aspects of the TA facility for CCArray activities. One scenario would potentially extend the duration of the Alaska TA deployment to link with the eventual CCArray plan. The form of any IRIS facility contributions to CCArray would need to be fully vetted by the community, likely through a proposal to NSF, and this will be reassessed as the CCArray plan becomes more clear.

CEUSN – IRIS continues to advocate for the CEUSN. The level and nature of full transition to USGS in FY18 will depend on the budget appropriation. The USGS plans to route funds through NSF to IRIS for FY18 O&M, then develop a strategy for the longer-term operation of the CEUSN and other CEUS Networks. Funding for CEUSN in FY18 and beyond is uncertain. Several IRIS activities that support the TA also support CEUSN, so any rescoping of CEUSN may impact other activities.

Budget – Due to flat budgets, there is a shortfall in the IS Management Year 5 budget. This has the potential to be solved with Year 4 carryover funds, and the issue will be revisited in the fall as needed.

SZO – Ideas and options for how to further the objectives of the SZO were discussed. Within IRIS, the International Development Seismology Committee (IDSC) will develop an IRIS community response to the SZO workshop report.

Pan-IS Working Groups and Committees – The ISSC discussed necessary steps, charter development, and membership selection to initiate or sustain working groups focused on exploring concepts for developing a pilot GSN seafloor station, overseeing the Seismic Source Facility, assessing pan-IRIS data quality issues (QAAC), and exploring issues related to the development of the PH5 data format.