[CF-metadata] high sample rate (seismic) data conventions

Maccarthy, Jonathan K jkmacc at lanl.gov
Mon Apr 10 10:54:20 MDT 2017

Hi Seth,

Thanks for the very helpful response.  I can understand the argument for explicit coordinates, as opposed to using formulae; I think it solves several problems.  The assumption of a uniform sample rate for the length of a continuous time series is deeply engrained in most seismic software, however.  Changing that assumption may lead to other problems (but maybe not!).  Data volumes for a single channel can be 40-100 4-byte samples per second, which is something like 5-12 GB per channel per year uncompressed.  Commonly, dozens of channels are used at once, though some of them may share time coordinates.  It sounds like this use-case is similar in volume to what you've used, and may be worth trying out.

Just to be clear, however, would I be correct in saying that CF has no accepted way of representing the data as I've described?

Thanks again,

On Apr 7, 2017, at 4:43 PM, Seth McGinnis <mcginnis at ucar.edu<mailto:mcginnis at ucar.edu>> wrote:

Hi Jonathan,

I would interpret the CF stance as being that the value in having
explicit coordinate variables and other ancillary data to accompany the
data outweighs the cost of increased storage.

There are some cases where CF bends away from that for the sake of
practicality (see, e.g., the discussion about external file references
for cell_bounds in CMIP5), but overall, my sense is that the community
feels that it's better to have things explicitly written out in the file
than it is to provide them implicitly via a formula to calculate them.

Based on my personal experiences, I think this is the right approach.
(In fact, I take it even further: I prefer to avoid data compression
entirely and to keep like data with like as much as possible, rather
than splitting big files into smaller pieces.)

I have endured far, far more suffering and toil from (a) trying to
figure out what's wrong with a file that violates some implicit
assumption (like "there are never gaps in the time coordinate") and (b)
dealing with the complications of various tactics for keeping file sizes
small than I ever have from storing and working with very large files.

YMMV, of course.  What are your data volumes like?  I'm working at the
terabyte scale, and as long as my file sizes stay under a few dozen GB,
I don't really even bother thinking about anything that affects the file
size by less than an order of magnitude.


Seth McGinnis


On 4/7/17 9:55 AM, Maccarthy, Jonathan K wrote:
Hi all,

I’m curious about the suitability of CF metadata conventions for
seismic sensor data.  I’ve done a bit of searching, but can’t find
any mention of how CF conventions would store high sample-rate data
sensor data.  I do see descriptions of time series conventions, where
hourly or daily sensor data samples are stored along with their
timestamps, but storing individual timestamps for each sample of a
high sample rate sensor would unnecessarily double the storage.
Seismic formats typically don’t store time vectors, but instead just
store vectors of samples with an associated start time and sampling

Could someone please point me towards a discussion or existing
conventions on this topic?  Any help or suggestion is appreciated.

Best, Jon _______________________________________________ CF-metadata
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