Macroseismic Intensity Data Online Publisher
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Within the activities of the European Commission NERIES project (2006-2010), Networking Activity 4 (NA4) "Distributed Archive of Historical Earthquake Data", a massive quantity of historical earthquakes data from year 1000 to year 1900 were collected and analyzed. Further activities were then carried out in the framework of the EU Project SHARE (2009-2013), Task 3.1 "European earthquake database".

All the inventoried data is now made available through the Archive of Historical Earthquake Data (AHEAD), which is currenlty coordinated by a core unit hosted at Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - Sezione di Milano and involves researchers from many European Research Institutions.

The main goal of AHEAD is to establish and implement an European common platform for searching, retrieving, evaluating and making available the macroseismic datasets of European and Mediterranean historical earthquakes, with special reference to the background data. This effort would, in our view, greatly overcome most of the problems coming from national boundaries and will greatly expand the limited resources available to most research groups.

One of the fundamental components of historical seismology research is the so called “macroseismic intensity data” which describes the level of damage caused by an earthquake in a list of places. Commonly these intensity data come in form of printed maps and/or tables; only sometime data are available in digital form and rarely are plotted using interactive maps.

Among other tasks, the AHEAD working team is dedicated to create a network of Institutions and individuals that would like to share their data with a broader scientific community.

Until now no dedicated tool for publishing intensity data on the Web existed and some sort of general purpose solutions was commonly adopted. However, in order to fully exploit macroseismic intensity data, a standard web-gis solution requires a lot of tweaking resulting in extremely time-consuming and over complicated solutions.

To solve the situation, the AHEAD working team decided to create MIDOP, a specific tool that allows web-inexperienced researchers to easily transform unappealing intensity tables into deeply customized interactive maps.

A completely coding-free approach has been adopted sporting a user friendly web interface capable of generating an entire website from scratch. Once a website has been generated on your PC, its publication on the web is easy as dragging a folder to the final web server.

MIDOP generated websites are secure and lightweight web application which are easily managed by any standard webserver. There is no need for any third party product installed on the public webserver such as dataservers.
Maps will be interactive thanks to a custom solution based on SVG and JavaScript all combined into static pre-generated pages. Tasks such as zoom, pans or place search, on a map are made interactive only relying on the final user browser engine, without any further server-side action.

Before implementing the tool, a series of requirements have been filed by listening to involved researchers and to the IT people of the different research Institutions.

The tool addresses the following tasks:

  • managing one or more catalogues of earthquakes, parametric or not;
  • for each earthquake it generates:
    • a table listing the affected places and their macroseismic intensity;
    • an interactive map of the macroseismic intensity points;
  • for every place mentioned it generates:
    • the list of earthquakes and the relative level of intensity experienced;
    • a diagram representing the level of damage experienced at the place for each earthquake;
  • publish historical earthquake studies from which intensity data are extracted.

Features taken into account from seismologists:

  • use of already existing standards in terms of input data table formats and content;
  • effortless online publication of the material, reducing as much as possible problems while transferring material to IT staff;
  • complete coding-free approach while publishing;
  • interactive maps, featuring zoom, pan and place search;
  • use of a very long lasting (at least a decade) and open source technology;
  • ability to add temporary points on already published maps as a reference;
  • export of published intensity data to downloadable files such as spreadsheets and high quality maps for high quality print;
  • easy-to-understand and responsive graphical user interface, using correct seismological terms;
  • advanced geographical and symbology customization.

Features taken into account from the IT staff:

  • safety measures against possible online attacks;
  • lightweight technologies, use of a small footprint and easy to maintain webserver;
  • clear and simple source code useful when seismologist require further customization;
  • generation of machine-understandable intensity data representation;
  • adoption of web standards, open source and well documented technologies.

The current MIDOP version can be referenced as:
Locati M. (2013-2014). MIDOP, Macroseismic Intensity Data Online Publisher. Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Milano-Pavia. http://www.emidius.eu/MIDOP/

The previous MIDOP versions was
Locati M. and Cassera A., (2010-2012). MIDOP, Macroseismic Intensity Data Online Publisher. Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Milano-Pavia. http://www.emidius.eu/MIDOP/


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