Newbee Help


I have a new RBoom and have recorded some files from Swarm on my Raspberry Pi
I used FileZilla to retrieve Swarm files from the Raspberry Pi from opt/data/archive.
If I bring one of the helicorder file back into my laptop how can I view the Swarm file that was saved? I can’t seem to playback the helicorder file.
Any help would be greatly appreciated

I think you’re getting mixed up here.
Swarm is a program you can use to view your data. You can also retrieve the data in various formats using Swarm.
The files that you ftp from the RBoom are mini-SEED files. There are various ways to convert these, one being mseed2ascii, here.

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Thanks for your prompt reply.
So the SWARM program cannot reproduce the file it creates.
i followed your instruction to locate the mseed2ascii at github,
Is the mseed2ascii, a Windows 10 type program? Is there a Win 10 program?
Which program listed is the actual mseed2ascii converter program?
Is there a primer for the program?
thanks in advance

Hello Tom,

You can open the files you have transferred via FTP from your Shake on SWARM by going to File --> Open File... and then navigating to/select the .mseed file that you want to open.

If you haven’t already, I advise taking a look at the manual, here:

As TideMan said, all files you pick up from any of our Shakes are formatted as .mseed, and you can convert them via the program he has advised. mseed2ascii needs to be compiled first, and should work both in Linux/Unix and Windows, as written in its readme:

Downloading and building
The releases area contains release versions.

In most Unix/Linux environments a simple 'make' will build the program.

The CC and CFLAGS environment variables can be used to configure the build parameters.

If your system does not have zlib you can compile the program without support for ZIP archive output: first type make in the main directory (the build will fail), then go to the src directory and type make nozip.

In the Win32 environment the can be used with the nmake build tool included with Visual Studio.

If your Shake is connected to our network, however, you can see all the data it has recorded via our DataView portal, which you can reach here: DataView offers the same products that SWARM generates, and all the data you have recorded can be found in a single place.

Thanks for responding.
first item– I tried to open the mseed files that were brought my laptop via WinSCP from opt/data/archive on the raspberry pi, and they cannot be read by the SWARM program. So I assume that SWARM cannot read these files that were saved?

second item–I went to github to locate the mseed2ascii and located the latest folder but I can’t make head or tails of what program or file is the ail program file and how you actually compile the correct file or files. I assume the the files have to read/compiled and run on a raspberry Pi.

third item–If one wanted to use windows 10 computer you would have to compile via Microsoft Visual Studio, is this correct? I have no idea how to use that program or C++.

So I assume then , that is no simple Win 10 program that will read mseed files?

Can you tell me what files (mseed2ascii) from github are actually need to be compiled on a raspberry and how the compiling is done. ie. what commands needed?
thanks so much for your help to a newbee.

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If you’re using Swarm (and I’m not convinced you are), then you can do this:

  1. Select the portion of the signal you wish to download;
  2. Copy it to the wave clipboard (by hitting the Paste icon);
  3. Open the clipboard and hit the Save selected wave (floppy disc) icon;
  4. You will get a list of file types, choose Matlab-readable text file.

The text file is milliseconds from the Linux epoch (19700101) and counts.

BTW, if you have Matlab, another (better) way to do this is using ReadMSEEDFast from the File Exchange.

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Hello Tom,

Answering your points one by one:

  1. I’ve tried to replicate the issue of opening files with my SWARM installation (v3.2.0 with Java v8u361), and I could see the data downloaded from the Shake. I would recommend updating your PC Java version (, rebooting, and then trying again with SWARM. You can also re-download the SWARM zipped file (USGS: Volcano Hazards Program) and try again with a fresh installation.

  2. & 3) That is correct; the files in mseed2ascii have to be compiled either in a linux/unix environment or in Windows through the use of Visual Studio. These are both procedures that require some programming knowledge to be executed.

In general, for a Linux system, you will have to copy/download all the files from the mseed2ascii github page to the system itself (you can download the .zip file from here, then unzip it via command line with this procedure (command line - How to unzip a zip file from the Terminal? - Ask Ubuntu), and finally, from inside the unzipped folder, execute the following from the readme:

you can compile the program without support for ZIP archive output: first type "make" in the main directory (the build will fail), then go to the src directory and type "make nozip".

Once this is done, you can follow the guidelines on to how use the program: mseed2ascii/ at master · iris-edu/mseed2ascii · GitHub As a final note, we do not recommend installing this or any other script on the RaspberryShake itself, as they could affect its performance. A different Linux system would be the optimal solution, or a Virtual Machine on your Windows system (How to Install Linux Inside Windows Using VirtualBox).

Another good alternative is the one TideMan proposed, that is, using MATLAB to open the .mseed files with “ReadMSEEDFast”.

Tideman & Stormchaser

thanks to the both of you for your help in locating , downloading and retrieving myd SWARM files from the server. I finally got the files and can look at them.
I redownloaded Java and redownloaded the SWARM files and opened SWARM and inputted the file after picking the correct format.
thanks again for your help
greatly appreciated


Hello Tom,

Happy to hear that! You’re more than welcome.

Enjoy the data from your Shake!