Strong Motion Network

Introducing Darien- its a whole new vision for seismology.

Source: USGS ShakeMap

Source: USGS ShakeMap

When plates collide, destructive earthquakes can bring entire nations to their knees. In a crisis-situation like this civil defense first-responders need accurate real-time information outlining which sectors of the population where hit the hardest. And the only question that matters is “How hard did it shake?” Darien answers this question in a way civil defense personnel and the public can understand.

Seismology’s emphasis on earthquake location and magnitude has long failed to live up to the needs of civil defense personnel and the general public. The chasm that exists between the information provided in real-time by seismic observatories and the information needed by the public was best seen in Haiti in 2010. Immediately following the earthquake, civil defense groups descended upon Haiti. Confusion followed as they spent days deliberating about which neighborhoods were hit the hardest and needed help the fastest. Why did emergency personnel take so long? They knew from the seismologists the earthquake location and magnitude but this was not enough. It is never enough. What else did they need? They needed local, neighborhood-by-neighborhood strong motion data to tell them which sectors of Port-au-Prince were hit the hardest. We designed Darien to provide exactly this.

darien strong motion accelerometer

Darien, a strong motion accelerometer and seismic sensor, maps the destruction, providing you with a first line of defense- accurate real-time information when you need it the most. And it fits in the palm of your hand!

Civil defense personnel and the people following our seismic observatories on Twitter and Facebook do not care about the earthquake location and magnitude. The magnitude scale itself is a source of confusion- the public does not think in orders of 32. No normal human being does. The public wants to know one thing: How hard did it shake?

Darien was designed to bridge this information chasm by providing the seismologists with the vertical channels their automated processing software require to accurately locate earthquakes and calculate magnitudes while also providing the strong motion data needed to generate maps that display where it shook hardest in real-time.

Design Principles:

The principles of simplicity, integration, and scalability governed Darien’s design.

1. Engineered for maximum simplicity-
Simplicity now comes standard. Darien’s plug-and-go design is so easy that even your dog could install it. Darien is fed the power and Ethernet it needs over a single cable. Once plugged in, Darien calls home to a pre-configured server, downloads its configuration and starts sending data. No mistakes can be made in the field because there is NOTHING to configure.

Strong Motion Accelerometer

A strong motion accelerometer designed to work like an appliance: Just plug it in and go back to the shop.

2. Complete Integration- Darien is more than just a seismic sensor. It is a whole new vision for seismology. The software and hardware are inseparable. The server, weak and strong motion sensors and software work seamlessly to acquire and process data in real-time, calculate earthquake locations, magnitudes and, most importantly, maps showing where the ground shook the most. This information is then made available for public consumption via Twitter, Facebook, sms and email. And it is ALL automated.

3. Go ahead, expand at will- Adding additional sensors to the Darien system is as easy as pluging in an Ethernet cable.

Recommended Applications:

  • Civil Defense Strong Motion Earthquake Monitoring
  • ShakeMap Generation
  • Instrumental Intensity Maps (Mercalli intensity scale)
  • Structural Monitoring
  • Urban Monitoring
  • Regional Monitoring
  • Local Seismic Monitoring


  • 3 component MEMS accelerometer
  • Single component vertical 4.5 Hz geophone electronically extended to 0.5 Hz (2s)
  • Digitizer: 24-bit
  • OS: Linux
  • Software for data acquisition: Earthworm
  • Timing: Internet time server (NTP)
  • Ethernet, TCP/IP
  • Power Consumption: 9-18 V DC; approx 0.5 W
  • Dimensions: size of a potato
  • IP67 Casing: Sealed case offering total protection in humid and aggressive environments (e.g. volcanic gases, jungles, saunas and fish tanks)
strong motion accelerometer

Darien- a whole new vision for seismology

Darien’s Web Interface: ShakeArray

At OSOP we focus our attention on developing beautiful, user friendly, civil-defense-oriented software displays like the new ShakeArray display:

Click on image to learn more

Click on image to learn more