Installation FAQ

Q.  What kind of label should I use for my site?

A.  Choose a label that leaves you relatively anonymous, since this label will appear on a public web map that indicates the general location of the device within a few hundred yards; it doesn't matter if someone else chooses the same label.  A bad label would be "AmySmith 123 Main 91125" [too much personal info]; a better label would be "Smith place" [less personal info]; an even better label example would be "Shakin2011" [zero personally identifying information].

Q.  What is a USB port, and where do I look for one on my PC?

A.  USB is an acronym for Universal Serial Bus, which is a standard method for connecting computers and other devices, such as keyboards, mouse, and printers--and in our case, a seismometer!  USB connections have also been used frequently to temporarily connect digital cameras to download photos.

Most PCs have several USB ports on both the front and rear of the computer case.  They are normally identified with a trident-like special symbol, and are rectangular and narrow.  Here are photos of USB ports from the front (both empty) and rear (both occupied, one for a printer and one for a seismometer) of a PC.  It is common for USB ports to be adjacent to the network cable; we recommend that you connect the seismometer to a port that is adjacent to other cables that are rarely disconnected, so that it does not become dislodged inadvertently.  USB ports are "polarized", meaning that the connector must be correctly rotated to insert it.  It is normal for a mild (fingertip) pressure to be required to fully insert the connector.

Q.  I've finished the installation steps; do I need to keep the seismogram and map windows open?

A.  No.  The two windows (and the parent window from the CSN application) are simply visualization tools.  If you don't want to have them cluttering up your display, close them at will!

Q.  How do I know things are working OK?

A.  You can verify that the seismometer device is working by starting the CSN application (if not already running), and then
opening the seismometer window (aka seismogram window) from the popdown "Window" menu.  You should see three black waveforms streaming towards the left, with occasional "blips".  If you tap the device firmly with a fingernail or pencil, you should should see corresponding tall blips in some of the waveforms.  A tap that is significantly stronger than recent activity should result in a "red line" displayed in the seismogram, which indicates that an unusual acceleration was noted, and an activity report sent to our central computer servers.

You can verify that our servers are receiving data from your site by consulting our web page map and finding your location on the map.  If all is well, your location should be represented by a red rectangle on the "Active Clients" map, and on the "Events" map if you have manually tapped your device within the past two minutes.

Q.  Can I see my seismometer activity (and my friends' activity) somewhere?

A.  Yes!  Every time your seismometer generates activity that is "red lined", a web page map is updated in real time; you should see a visual indication on the web page map within 3-5 seconds.
Q.  The Windows-based installer crashed; now what do I do?

A.  Remain calm!  The first step is to clean up whatever digital debris might have been left behind during the crash; the second step is to download and run the installer once more; the third step is to complain to us about it:-)
  1. Locate and run the CSN uninstall application:  Start->All Programs->Community Seismic Network->Uninstall CSN
  2. Go to the CSN installation web page and follow all steps from the start, including a fresh download of the installer.
  3. Email help (at) with a summary of your experience.  Useful info to include in the note:
    • version number of the installer/application
    • OS version
    • crash details (error messages, screen shots, etc.--whatever is easy to obtain)