Return to IASPEI Home Page
The science of seismology depends critically on data collected at hundreds of observatories world-wide. These observatories are operated by a variety of agencies, staffed by seismologists and technicians whose training and interests vary widely. They are equipped with hardware and software ranging from very traditional analog technology to highly versatile and sophisticated digital technology. While in industrialized countries the observatory personnel normally have easy access to up-to-date technologies, spare parts, infrastructure, know-how, consultancy and maintenance services, those working in developing countries are often required to do a reliable job with very modest means and without much outside assistance.
To ensure that the data from these observatories can be properly processed and interpreted once it has been acquired and compiled, it is necessary to establish protocols for all aspects of observatory operation which may effect the seismological data itself. In addition, competent guidance is often required in the stages of planning, bidding, procurement, site-selection, and installation of new seismic observatories and networks so that they will later meet basic international standards for data exchange and processing in a cost-effective and efficient manner. The most successful such effort to date has been the Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice. The most recent edition of the Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice was published in 1979 as Report SE-20 of the World Data Center A for Solid Earth Geophysics. It was reprinted in 1982, but has been long out of print. For many years the Manual has been effectively impossible to obtain.
Seismology has undergone a technological revolution since publication of the Manual, driven by cheap computer power, the development of a new generation of seismometers and digital recording systems with very broad bandwidth and high dynamic range, and the discovery of the Internet as a vehicle for rapid, large-scale data exchange. As the seismological community switches from analog to digital technology, many sections of the 1979 Manual are becoming obsolete or irrelevant, and the Manual contains no guidance in many areas which have become of critical importance.
Therefore the Commission on Seismological Observation and Interpretation (formerly, Commission on Practice) of IASPEI initiated in 1996 a project to produce a new edition of the Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice. This project was under the overall guidance of Prof. Dr. Peter Bormann. The new printed edition was published in 2002, and a slightly revised/corrected version made available on the internet as NMSOP-1 in 2009. Yet, already in 2005, IASPEI requested the editor to envisage an updated, amended second edition that is freely available on the Internet. The GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences agreed to implement and maintain such a long-term NMSOP website in collaboration with the International Seismological Centre and the IASPEI Commissions on Seismic Observation and Interpretation as well as Education and Outreach.
Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice (1979 Edition)
As a step in the production of a new Manual, the IASPEI Commission on Practice recommended, at the 21st General Assembly of the IUGG ( in Boulder, Colorado, that the 1979 Edition be reproduced electronically, to provide a readily-available reference document for the contributors to the new edition and to other interested persons.
NEW Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice (first editions 2002 and 2009)
The New Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice (NMSOP or "the Manual") was produced in 2002 under the overall guidance of Prof. Dr. Peter Bormann. NMSOP is a continuation and significant expansion of the materials and guidance provided by the earlier Willmore (1979) Manual of (analogue) Seismological Observatory Practice (MSOP), introducing also into the new era of digital seismology. A slightly revised/corrected version is available on the internet as NMSOP-1 since 2009. The latter can be downloaded for free using the title link above or, if you require printed hard copies, they can be ordered at the GFZ library (30 EUR for two volumes of 1250 pages + shipment cost) via the new link http://nmsop.gfz-potsdam.de.
NEW Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice (second Edition NMSOP-2, 2012)
Since March 2012 most of NMSOP-2 is on the Web, to be completed during 2012. With 4 new and 13 substantially amended topical Chapters, many new or significantly revised/amended Information Sheets, Data Sheets, Exercises, Tutorials, educational animations, programs and the largest ever published glossary of seismological and related earth scientific and engineering terms NMSOP-2 is the largest seismology e-book currently available. It is accessible via the website http://nmsop.gfz-potsdam.de, which provides also a link to NMSOP-1
Return to IASPEI Home Page
March 14, 2012
Maintained by: Alice Walker email@example.com at the British Geological Survey