ANSS - Advanced National Seismic System

TIC Working Group on National Performance Standards (A)

TIC Group A Website

Duration: Short-term
Associated TIC Tasks: 1
Timetable: June 30, 2004

Members of ANSS TIC Group A


A performance standard is a statement of general criteria that define a desired result without specifying how to achieve that result (e.g., Telecom Glossary 2K). The context here is a characterization of products and services (quality, quantity, time, availability, reliability, accuracy) that users can expect from the operation of the ANSS as a system. ("Performance" here should not be confused with behavior or "what people do.") Because the operational performance of the ANSS depends on evolutionary capabilities and budgetary constraints, performance standards should preferably be described as goals, accompanied by quantifiable minimum levels of performance and/or expected tolerance statistics (e.g., average, percentile, range) that will serve as internal "yardsticks" and inform external users. For an example document on performance standards, see the Department of Defense's description of performance standards for the Global Positioning System .


This working group is responsible for defining the national performance standards under which the integrated elements of the ANSS will be operated and which will serve as (1) "yardsticks" for conformance and improvement within the ANSS and (2) a description of what users can expect. National performance standards are critical to ensure high-quality earthquake information products and services needed for emergency response, earthquake engineering, public dissemination of earthquake information, and basic and applied earth science research. Defining and codifying performance standards in effect will spell out what participating seismic networks have to commit to achieve in order to be part of the ANSS; implementing the standards will move the ANSS away from a loose-confederation of cooperating networks into a unified system envisioned in USGS Circular 1188.


  1. Review ANSS documents (e.g., Circular 1188; OFR 02-92; USGS Program Announcement 04HQPA0002, June 2003, Attachment A; 2002 white paper by A. Lerner-Lam on performance-based assessment) for background information on goals, needs and justification for migrating away from the present situation.
  2. Review available summaries of network capabilities, products, and services across the country as a starting "reality check" for writing performance standards that will be the ANSS's commitment to users.
  3. Develop a minimum set of performance standards that can be implemented quickly by the ANSS community in order to show progress and to encourage further adoption of new standards.
  4. The work of this group will broaden as various elements of ANSS are able to achieve basic performance standards. There will be the need to develop new and/or refined standards that can be developed and implemented by the community. Alternatively, the work group can create a "master plan" with a suggested timetable for implementing various performance standards within it.
  5. The workgroup should identify quality assurance/quality control standards appropriate for ANSS operational practices.

This group’s activities need to be coordinated with the TIC Working Groups on NEIC/CISN Integration and Evolutionary Implementation and the USGS’s Integrated Products Team.