Toward a Common Format for Strong-Motion Data

by Tony Shakal and Roger Borcherdt

Shakal, Tony, and Roger Borcherdt (1999). Toward a Common Format for Strong-Motion Data. SMIP99 Seminar on Utilization of Strong-Motion Data, p. 121 - 134.

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The need for a common format for the earthquake engineering use of strong-motion data has become increasingly apparent during the last several years. An early goal of the Consortium of Organizations for Strong Motion Observation Systems is the development of a consensus format for data products. The current number and variety of formats arose largely through the nature of the growth of strong motion recording and processing. As new networks or processing facilities began many produced data in a format of their own convenience since no standard had been established. As a first step toward developing a common format, a Format Working Group met at PEER in January 1999.

The introduction of new standard formats should bear positive results in data exchange for both the data-producing organizations and the data users. A common format does not bar the use of individual formats by data producers, but rather provides for a common, minimum basic format for use of strong-motion data in earthquake engineering. Once a common format achieves adequate consensus, converters are planned to be made available at the COSMOS Virtual Data Center which will perform translations of data formats, so that from a user perspective, the data will appear to be all of one "virtual" format.