Sending Data via Telemetry


I am looking to deploy 10 RS4Ds in a remote location in Papua New Guinea. I plan to use satellite or 3G cellular telemetry to relay the data. Is there a way to instruct the unit to send packets of data at certain times via the internet connectivity provided by the telemetry. The reason for wanting to do it like this are that the 3G signal is intermittent so real time connection to shake net is unrealistic and it would also be inefficient (in terms of energy consumption) to have the telemetry units working 24 hrs a day. This might be easier with satellite telemetry but having a tough time finding companies that provide telemetry for this region!

I’m assuming that the ethernet port on the RS4Ds will allow internet/ data to be passed between the telemetry unit and the RS4D. Please let me know if this isn’t the case!

I appreciate this is a bit of a broad question from a clueless person but any help here would be great!


Hello Adam,

This is a very interesting question, and very tricky at the same time. I passed it to our development team that will try to see if there is something that can be done to allow the processes that you need to run as you imagine.

I’ll get back to you as soon as I’ll get an answer from them.

Hi Stormchaser,

Thanks for escalating this - it will be interesting to see what your development team think of this.

While we wait I’ll ask some other questions! If the internet connection is stable and we can have the telemetry running constantly I assume this would allow the RS4D to connect to shakenet? However we’d probably also want the data sent to us directly as well. Is there precedent for the shakes to automatically send data somewhere? Is there precedent of shakes working with 3G/4G or satellite telemetry? What I want to avoid is going down the telemetry route if the shakes aren’t really compatible with this kind of data transfer.


Hi Stormchaser,

Are you able to provide an update on these questions? We’re looking to purchase telemetry for our 10 RS4Ds imminently due to a budget spend deadline! If possible I’d be happy to speak with the developers directly as well.


hi adam,

i have received your direct email and will be responding to that directly in short order.


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Hi @adamcotterill & @Stormchaser ,

I am interested in doing something similar, so I am curious as to what the outcome of this was and how it was done? I am trying to set up a remote RS3D unit powered by battery and solar, with telemetry for data transfer in Canada.


Hello jackcar,

If you are looking for a simple answer to the question “is it possible to send data via another computer that has direct connectivity to upstream data destinations?”, the answer is “yes”.

However, you should also be aware that this is not a functionality provided by the Shake-OS / software in its current form. Coming up with a solution that will be as efficient as possible, versus your particular configuration of components, would require custom coding (you could probably get away with a python-only implementation) that would solve your particular problem in a very specific way.

To give you an idea of what would be involved, from a high-level point of view:

  • data is written to the Shake SD card periodically in mini-SEED format. this is as compressed as seismic data can get
  • there exists a connection between the Shake’s pi computer, and the telemetry computer (however this is solved, you mentioned ethernet, which is the best way to achieve this)
  • a program would run on the telemetry computer which would:
    • periodically fetch the data from the Shake
    • forward this to your destination using whatever communications method exists at that particular site
  • things that make this tricky to implement:
    • you will only want to forward data not already forwarded, i.e., you will need to keep track of stop and start times of forwarded data packets
    • you will need to implement your own solution to extract only the data of interest from the mini-SEED file on the Shake (the data to be forwarded)
  • on the other hand, there are ways to make this simpler:
    • if near real-time transmission is not an absolute requirement, consider uploading the data once / day, sometime soon after UTC midnight, since the mini-SEED file is put into 24-long files, using UTC 00:00 as the boundary
    • if seismicity monitoring is not the goal, but instead you want to collect data over a long period of time for research purposes, I would encourage you to loosen the requirement, if it exists, of uploading the data as frequently as possible.
  • and, given that the Shake-OS outputs data across UDP ports, this is not the only solution which is available to you

In summary, you will be able to do what you want, but providing a solution, whoever that is, will not be trivial to implement. If you like a fun programming challenge, then this could be your thing, you would even be able to write a paper on just the SW solution since remote data acquisition over not-always-available communications networks has not yet been generally solved.

I hope I have provided you with the info you need. Please let me know if I have clarified the issue for you, and/or if you have any other questions, I remain available.

@Stormchaser, thanks for the information.


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You’re welcome Jack!