Stations and Data
A network of shared scientific observatories across Africa is of fundamental importance to achieving a tightly integrated training and research programme for science capacity building. The network of observatories, linked through common instrumentation, data access, and operation, form a “shared” facility and as such provide an important means of building science community. Data from the observatories provide the underpinning for much of the science supported by AfricaArray. Some of the observatories are permanent, while others are installed and operated on a temporary basis.
The scientific observatories are built around broadband seismic stations for recording earthquakes. The reason for this is because the initial focus of AfricaArray was in geophysics. The goal during the first phase of AfricaArray (2005-2007) was to establish a network of 20 to 30 permanent observatories spanning much of southern and eastern Africa. The placement of permanent observatories in many countries was governed by the location of existing seismic stations. Seismic equipment at many of these stations has been upgraded, the data have been formatted uniformly and archived, and access to the data has been streamlined. During the second phase of AfricaArray (2008-2010), the network of permanent observatories was expanded into other parts of Africa, and starting in August, 2010, many of the observatories are being equipped with GPS receivers and automated weather stations.