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COSMOS Strong-Motion Virtual Data Center



COSMOS recently funded efforts to improve the versatility and the outputs of the Converter Tool that was originally developed in 2006 at U.C. Santa Barbara. The current version of the Java-based application (beta mode) can input strong-motion records in the formats of four major seismic networks and COSMOS, split the record into single-channels if necessary, and then generate output files converted to a user-selected format. A description of the tool and the requirements for use are provided here. The tool is available for download at the CESMD.

Description of the Converter Tool

The Converter is a Java-based graphical user interface (GUI) designed to visualize and convert strong-motion data from the following formats:

  • CGS (unprocessed and processed)
  • USGS SMC (corrected and uncorrected)
  • GNS NZ (New Zealand)
  • NIED Japan (K-NET and KiK-Net)

The input format is specified by the user (i.e., no auto-detection). The output format options are:

  • Excel spreadsheet: One spreadsheet per channel per physical parameter that includes parametric data about the earthquake, site and instrument, the strong-motion time series data in a single column, and a plot of the channel time history.
  • Matlab file: One file per channel per physical parameter that includes a script for plotting time histories, along with parametric data and strong-motion data in a single column. The file can be opened by MatLab.
  • COSMOS XML format: Includes earthquake parameters and data in XML format.
  • COSMOS VDC Tagged format: Includes earthquake parameters and data in COSMOS VDC Tagged format. (USGS Open-File Report 2008-1327).

The new COSMOS Converter has an integrated splitter to open CGS and New Zealand data files that contain one or more channels and split them into individual files. The output is one file per channel per physical parameter (acceleration, velocity or displacement).

Getting Started

The COSMOS converter is a jar file which can be launched by either double clicking on the file or by issuing "Java—jar converter.jar" in a command line.

This GUI is easy to use: a user simply navigates to a local folder containing the input data files, specifies the output directory, and then clicks the export button to generate the outputs.


COSMOS Converter Outputs

Examples of COMOS Converter outputs:

Excel Spreadsheet

CGS image2

One spreadsheet per channel of data per physical parameter. Each spreadsheet contains the information about record, the time series in a single column, and a plot of the time history.

Matlab File

CGS image3

One M file per channel per physical parameter. Record metadata are included, as well as time series in a single column. The MATLAB file also contains a script for generating a plot of the time series.


CGS image4

One file per channel of data in XML format according tot he Virtual Data Center Tagged Formet.

COSMOS VDC Tagged Format

CGS image5

One file per channel of data in the Cirgual Data Center Tagged Format

Time Series Plot

CGS image6

One file of a time-series plot per channel of data is saved in a local foler if the user selected the plot outpot.

Software Requirements

MS windows, Unix-like environments and IOS. To use the converter, Java 1.8 or later is required.

Where to Get the Tool

The COSMOS Converter can be downloaded from the CESMD website

For questions and comments regarding the COSMOS Converter, please email us at: or



The COSMOS Virtual Data Center, is an unrestricted web portal to strong ground motion records and features:

• Records from the United States and 14 contributing countries for use by the engineering and scientific communities

• Flexible, full range of search methods, including map-based , parameter-entry, and earthquake- and station-based searches

• Display and download options allow users to view data in multiple contexts, extract and download data parameters, and download data files in convenient formats

• COSMOS VDC is supported by funds from the California Geological Survey (CGS), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF)



2015 VDC Factsheet

The 2015 VDC Factsheet is now available!



COSMOS is a non-profit organization whose goal is to expand and significantly modernize the acquisition and application of strong-motion data in order to increase public safety from earthquakes.

© Consortium of Organizations for Strong-Motion Observation Systems (COSMOS) - All rights reserved.