Appendix 3 – Using ObsPy

ObsPy is a python based seismology toolbox, which can be used to deal with seismic waveform data and earthquake catalogue information. The toolbox can read a large range of seismic data formats and perform a large range of processing applications such as filtering the data, and misfit calculation.

Many of the pre- and post-processing applications within the portal use python and ObsPy. The toolbox can also be used to format input data, for instance producing an earthquake catalogue in quakeML format.


Figure A3.1: The ObsPy logo

A3.1 Installing Python and ObsPy

  1. Installing Python: Depending on your operating system this can be installed through the software manager. Alternatively the latest version of python can be installed here,

    You will also require to specific python libraries that can be installed from GitHub as described below.

  1. Installing anaconda: if you do not have super user privalages on your machine then both ObsPy and dispel4py (see appendix two) can be installed using Anaconda, a package to manage and deploy Python packages. Anaconda can be installed on mac and Linux operating systems as described here,

    Installing ObsPy: Make sure you have a C and fortran compile installer. You can then install ObsPy with the command,

    conda install -c obspy obspy

    or, if you have not installed anaconda,

    sudo pip install obspy

    Full instructions can be found at

A3.2 Other dependencies you need to run ObsPy are listed below;

numPy – a toolbox for doing numerical applications in python.

sudo apt-get install python-numpy

SciPy – a generic scientific programming toolbox for applications in python.

sudo apt-get install python-scipy

Additionally, in order to do the plotting parts of the tutorial below you will need to install the following;

Matplotlib – a toolbox for creating plots and figures for python applications. Figures are customised very easily and intuitively, and can be exported in a number of different. Files can also be exported easily to a .mat file for Matlab users.

sudo apt-get install python-matplotlib

A3.3 Using ObsPy

A full online python tutorial, that covers everything from a basic introduction to ObsPy, up to more advanced applications such as developing an automated processing workflow, can be found at the link below;


Figure A3.2: Z-component data plotted using ObsPy. Image re-produced from