Awareness & Education


Recommendation ITSU-XIX.3 started the project.

Recommendation ITSU-XIX.3


The International Co-ordination Group for the Tsunami Warning System in the Pacific,

Noting that the NTL/ICMMG (on behalf of ICG/ITSU) and the WDG/NGDC continue to hold two distinct databases, that are similar in format, but differ in terms of number of events, historical run-up records as well as in parameters of particular events,

Recognizing the benefits of having a single unified database that will serve as a reliable source of information on historical tsunamis in the Pacific for end-users,


(i) to implement the Global Historical Tsunami Database Project that will develop a unified, consistent, quality tsunami database based upon the two existing tsunami databases;

(ii) that the Project will be implemented jointly by ITIC, the WDG/NGDC and the NTL/ICMMG;

(iii) that the official copy of the database be housed and maintained at the WDC/NGDC from where the data can be accessed, free of charge, via Web-based HTML forms and ArcISM interactive maps as well as exported in different formats specified by the ITIC for the use by the tsunami warning centers and other potential users,

(iv) that the offline, standalone application (WinHTDB graphic shell) continues to be supported and be updated by adding a new software for calculation of the Tsunami Travel Time (TTT). This will take into account that some users may not have easy access to the Internet, and it will respond to the needs of requiring access to the historical data in "offline" mode.

Requests that WDG/NGDC provides copies of a CD-ROM to the IOC Secretariat, including the data base, graphic shell and TTT software, for distribution to Member States and allow IOC Member States to make copies as required.


Financial implications:

US$ 3000 in 2004 from IOC ; no funds required from IOC for 2005

US$ 20,000 in 2004 from USA (NWS/PR)

Progress Report June 2004 (V. Gusiakov)



on the GTDB Project implementation in November 2003 - May 2004


In the Novosibirsk Tsunami Laboratory  of the Institute of Computational Mathematics and Mathematical Geophysics (NTL/ICMMG) the work on the GTDB Project implementation was going in three main directions:


(1)   Further development of the WinHTDB graphic shell and adding a new software for calculation of the Tsunami Travel Time (TTT) charts;

(2)   Development of a new PDM shell (PDM – Parametric Data Manager);

(3)   Further updating and verification of historical tsunami data (EVENT and RUN-UP catalogs) for the Pacific


(1) Within the first direction, the major improvement of the WinHTDB graphic shell includes the following new features:

  • New vector layer “Isolines of Relief” (added to the “Map” sub-menu) that can be overlaid over the shaded relief or used instead of it;
  • New dialog window (“Isolines”) in the “Map Settings” pop-up window to set the parameters for isolines display;
  • The layer “Regions” was made active and allows to make the selection of the events related to a particular region upon right mouse click while it is highlighted on the Pacific-wide map. The listing of these events is displayed upon double left-mouse click;
  • New option “Bibliography”  (added to the main menu) that provides listing of tsunami bibliography grouped into five sub-options (Historical Catalogs, General Books, Conference Proceedings, Selected Papers, Tsunami web-sites);

 New options implemented in the TTT calculation:

  • New algorithm for plotting isochrones (that eliminates breaks in lines);
  • New option for plotting travel time values at the isochrone lines (in several formats – secs, min:secs, hours);
  • New heuristic method to prevent isochrones from jumping over the Panama isthmus (on the Pacific-wide map);
  • New dialog window for display settings for plotting point and elliptic sources (allows selection of different colors and width).

 All TTT options were incorporated into the WinHTDB graphic shell as options of its main menu, thus forming a new shell – WinEHTDB, that can be considered as a prototype of the next generation shell  –WinITDB (Integrated Tsunami DataBase), to be presented at the ITSU-XX in 2005. A new version (5.0 of May 30, 2004) of the WinEHTDB graphic shell was send to the ITIC for testing.


(2) Within the second direction, a new Windows-based graphic shell (PDM – Parametric Data Manager) has been developed. The PDM is an interactive graphic shell (screen form) intended for easy manipulation of parametric (source data, run-up observations) and descriptive (structured text, bibliographical references) data related to historical tsunamigenic events. Its main function is to assist the HTDB administrator in collection, editing and listing of parametric data related to historical tsunamigenic events. It is supposed that the PDM shell will be used as a major instrumental tools by the HTDB regional coordinators in their work on further improvement of the quality and completeness of historical tsunami data in the Pacific. It can be also used in the work in compilation and referencing of the GTDB data sets.  


The PDM consists of the Quick Look Table (QLT) that lists the condensed set of parametric data related to a particular tsunamigenic event and the Tsunami Event Card (TEC) that gives the full set of parametric and reference data related to a particular event. In the QLT each event is representing by a single line of parameters representing the basic set of data on a particular historical event. Except the listing of tsunamigenic events, the QLT allows to make any event retrieval by multiple criteria, sorting and report printing.


The TEC provides an access to the full set of data related to a particular event. It consists of several tags each representing a particular type of information (source event data, data on damage, run-up heights, textual description of an event, digitized photos, bibliographical references). The important feature of the TEC is the ability to manipulate with the adequately referenced multi-string data related to a single event (source coordinates, magnitudes, estimates of damage) as provided by different sources.


(3) Within the third direction, the plan agreed at the ITSU-XIX was that Dr.Gusiakov will come to Honolulu and Boulder in February-March of 2004 for the joint work with ITIC and NGDC/NOAA for further data compilation, verification and their merging with the NGDC data to form a new GTDB data set. However, due to a problem with getting US visa, this visit could not be implemented. It was decided that during the rest of 2004 both groups (NTL/ICMMG and NGDC/NOAA) will work independently based on their sources of historical tsunami data and will seek other possibilities for the work for data merging and conversion into the GTDB format..


In the NTL/ICCMMG the work in this direction includes:


  • Development of the new format for GTDB data set. Comparatively to the existing HTDB format (that is used in the WinHTDB graphic shell) it includes two new fields in the EVENT catalog (the total number of fatalities from an event, and the total number of destroyed and damaged houses due to a tsunami) and two new fields in the RUN-UP catalog (the number of fatalities at a particular location, and bibliographical reference for run-up value).
  •  Standardization of the Region and Area names in the RUN-UP catalogs. Region names for all observation sites were standardized in accordance with the names of the main tsunamigenic regions in the Pacific.
  •  Checking and correction of the “Type of measurement” field in the RUN-UP catalog, based on information on existing tide networks in the different areas of the Pacific.
  •  Extension and correction of historical data set for the Tonga-Fiji-Vanuatu region based on the data in the regional catalog (Everingham, 1987) obtained by the NTL/ICMMG from Dr.B.Pelletin (New Caledonia).



Head, Novosibirsk Tsunami Laboratory

HTDB/PAC Project Coordinator




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