Concept, design and development ofehrmedia.com
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Earth Observatory

Purpose

This website started in late 2015 as project intending to demonstrate how publicly available environmental data can be aquired, treated and displayed in (almost) real-time to the user. Almost means, that we publish the data as soon as we get, but there might be a delay from the actual event til we get the data for it. The first version went online in January 2016 running on FreeBSD 10.3. It is work in progress and will incorporate new features and datasources over time.

Technology

We see here version 3.0 of earthobservatory.ch using FreeBSD 11.0, Erlang 19.0 and Yaws 2.04 running behind Nginx as loadbalancer. In the background Ubuntu Linux 16.04 with Postgresql 9.5 and Python 3.5.

The hardware with networking, frontend and databaseservers, as well as concept and developement is done entirely by my company.

Most important change is that most of the content, except images and videos now resides in a database which makes it easier to provide the sidte in multiple languages. There now is a glossary explaining some terms and the seismic scales are made available. We start with English and German and will add more over time. Data on Earth's geomagnetic field was move over from our sister site solarobservatory.ch, as we think it is thematically better suited here.

Data Sources, Aquisition and Frequency

Earthquake data used on this page is sourced from public sources at various seismological centers. We selected the areas based on availability of data for earthquakes below magnitude 3.5. This makes it more interesting, as there are not that many earthquakes above 3.5 magnitude, even in seismically active zones. For Kamchatka, Kuril Islands, Sakhalin, Japan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan for the moment, we have only data above 3.5 magnitude unfortunately.

Meteorological data is source from Eumetcast, acquired via satellite. Currently, no work is being done here, due to lack of resources.

Data Sources and Update Schedules
SourceScheduleDisplayed asComments
Earthquakes Canary IslandsEvery 15minData and imagesData from Instituto Geográfica Nacional. Relief based on public data from Centro Nacional de Informácion Geográfica and bathymetry from European Marine Observation and Data Network. Images are our own.
Earthquakes EcuadorEvery 15minData and imagesData from Instituto Geofísico - EPN. Relief is from Natural Earth. Images are our own.
Earthquakes GreeceEvery 15minData and imagesData from National Observatory of Athens. Relief is from Natural Earth. Images are our own.
Earthquakes HawaiiEvery 15minData and imagesData from United States Geological Survey. Relief is from Shaded Relief. Images are our own.
Earthquakes IcelandEvery 15minData and imagesData from Icelandic Met Office. Relief is from Natural Earth. Images are our own.
Earthquakes IranEvery 15minData and imagesData from Iranian Seismological Center. Relief is from Natural Earth. Images are our own.
Earthquakes ItalyEvery 15minData and imagesData from Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia. Relief is from Natural Earth. Images are our own.
Earthquakes JapanEvery 15minData and imagesData from Geophysical Survey,Russian Academy of Sciences. Relief is from Natural Earth. Images are our own.
Earthquakes Kamchatka, Kuril Islands and SakhalinEvery 15minData and imagesData from Geophysical Survey,Russian Academy of Sciences. Relief if from Natural Earth. Images are our own.
Earthquakes Kyrgyzstan, TajikistanEvery 15minData and imagesData from Geophysical Survey,Russian Academy of Sciences. Relief is from Natural Earth. Images are our own.
Earthquakes New ZealandEvery 15minData and imagesData from Geonet New Zealand. Relief if from Natural Earth. Images are our own.
Earthquakes PhilippinesEvery 15minData and imagesData from Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. Relief is from Natural Earth. Images are our own.
Earthquakes SwitzerlandEvery 15minData and imagesData from Seismological Service Switzerland. Images are our own, relief is our own using public data from Federal Office of Topography..
Earthquakes India, Nepal, PakistanEvery 15minData and imagesData from Geophysical Survey,Russian Academy of Sciences. Relief is from Natural Earth. Images are our own.
Earthquakes TurkeyEvery 15minData and imagesData from Distaster and Emergency Management Authority Turkey. Relief is from Natural Earth. Images are our own.
Meteorological DataContinually via satelliteData and imagesData is from Eumetsat and comes via satellite in various formats - for example NetCDF, BUFR. Images are our own. (Currently not displayed)

All of the data is aquired, transformed, stored and displayed automatically, which results in a low-maintenance website with no human intervention necessary. Of course, we have to monitor it still...

Bots

When EarthObservatory.ch aquires data via bots, it identifies itself as "EarthObservatory/x.y" for production and as "Goronzola/x.y" for development environment. Here, x.y is the version number, which currently is at 3.0.

The bots only get specific data and do not crawl or index any sites. If you think they cause you problems, please let us know at this link

Design

The website is optimized for PCs and tablets with at least 1024 pixel resolution. We currently haven't the resources (devices, time and money) to expand to smaller devices, such as mobile phones. The website can be viewed on smartphones, but it will look ugly. However, quick test showed that the functionality is there.

Support for small devices is unlikely to improve in the future, however, we are thinking of writing some apps with a specific set of functionality adapted to smart-devices using customizable push-notifications for certain events.

Plans for Expansion

Additions to the site will mostly concern incorporation of new datasources and languages.

We will stick to FreeBSD/Linux, Erlang/Python and Yaws/Nginx combination. New coding will preferably be done in Erlang unless there is a clear advantage in using Python3. CouchDB and RabbitMQ will be used more in future versions.

Financing

This website is entirely free to the user. Of course, it is not entirely free for us. Apart from our time, there are costs for electricity, hosting, network connections, etc. Thus we are grateful for any financial contributions. If you consider donating, please drop me an e-mail on

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