Updates on the U.S. Seismic Design Maps web application
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to report any complications or bugs affecting the application. This address is regularly monitored by a real person. If the application is failing to calculate, please see the October 14th entry below for guidance on how to address the problem.
Monday morning, May 18th, 2015
We are currently experiencing a connectivity issue in the USGS office. This is causing the application to produce an "error is SsS1Calculator constructor...." message. We will resolve this problem ASAP. Our sincere apologies for the delays this is causing. This problem was resolved on Monday, 5/18/15.
Wednesday afternoon, March 25th, 2015
The General Horizontal Response Spectrum and General Vertical Response Spectrum provided in Sections 126.96.36.199.1 and 188.8.131.52.2 (respectively) of the 2013 ASCE 41 Detailed Report are overly conservative for some sites. For Earthquake Hazard Level option BSE-2E the SXS,BSE-2E value should be capped by the SXS,BSE-2N value, and the SX1,BSE-2E value should be capped by the SX1,BSE-2N value. The analogous cases should also hold for the BSE-1E Earthquake Hazard Level. While this capping is properly applied in Equations 2-4 and 2-5, it has not been carried through to the Horizontal and Vertical Response Spectra. This produces spectra that are overly conservative for some sites. We will work to resolve this issue ASAP. In the meantime, users are advised to use the values from Equations 2-4 and 2-5 to construct spectra in accordance with the equations provided in Section 184.108.40.206.1 and 220.127.116.11.2. This bug was fixed on Monday, 3/30/15
Friday evening, February 20th, 2015
The zoomed-in map in the Summary Report is not displaying, and the U.S.-scale map is displaying in the wrong location. We will work to resolve this issue ASAP.
This appears to have been a temporary bug that is no longer affecting the application as of Monday, 2/23/15.
Tuesday morning, February 10th, 2015
The map in the Summary Report is currently unavailable, and is instead generating a "This key is not authorized for this service" error. We will resolve this problem ASAP. This was resolved on the afternoon of Tuesday, 02/17/15.
Tuesday morning, November 25th, 2014
We are currently experiencing a connectivity issue in the USGS office. This is causing the application to produce the same "oracle.jdbc.driver...." error previously seen on 11/20/14. We will resolve this problem ASAP. Our sincere apologies for the delays this is causing. This was resolved on the afternoon of Tuesday, 11/25/14.
Thursday morning, November 20th, 2014
We are currently experiencing a connectivity issue in the USGS office. This is causing the application to produce a "oracle.jdbc.driver...." error. We are investigating the problem and intend to resolve it ASAP. Sorry for the inconvenience this is causing. This was resolved on the afternoon of Thursday, 11/20/14.
Tuesday afternoon, October 14th, 2014
Users have reported that the application is "computing" indefinitely through some versions of Internet Explorer. Please follow these 3 steps (listed in order of likelihood of fixing the problem):
I) We support all applications for compatibility with the two most recent browser editions. In the case of Internet Explorer, those would be 10 and 11. Please follow steps 1 and 2 on the following page to determine if you are running an older version: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/internet-explorer/which-version-am-i-using#ie=other Step 3 on that page will enable you to upgrade to a newer version of Internet Explorer, if appropriate.
II) If you are using version 10 or 11 of Internet Explorer but are still having difficulty using the application, then you may be in "Compatibility Mode". This site provides guidance on how to turn this off: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/1196-internet-explorer-compatibility-view-turn-off.html
III) Make sure your browser is not simulating an older version: First, hit the F12 key or click on the gear icon in the upper right corner of the Internet Explorer window and select "F12 Developer Tools".
In Internet Explorer 10: A number of headings should appear beneath the webpage. Click on the one that says "Browser Mode" and make sure it is using IE 10.
In Internet Explorer 11: Towards the lower right corner of the window, an icon that looks like a smartphone next to a computer monitor should appear - click this. Then, select "Edge" or "10"
Then, try running the application.
If none of the above steps are successful, or upgrading is not practical/allowed in your workplace, you may have success with another browser, like the freely available Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Opera (though, we can't advocate for one particular browser).
Tuesday morning, September 9th, 2014
The application is running well. However, the "Batch Mode" functionality is running erratically. This will be resolved as part of a planned application overhaul during the winter.
Wednesday morning, June 25th, 2014
The database connection error was resolved yesterday evening. All functionality should be back to normal.
Tuesday afternoon, June 24th, 2014
A short-term database connection error is limiting access to application output. We are working on this now, and it will be resolved ASAP.
Friday afternoon, June 20th, 2014
While implementing recent improvements to the application, a textual bug was introduced into the Summary and Detailed output reports. Almost all of the reports now claim that the output values are "10% in 50 year values". However, this is (in most cases) incorrect. Each value provided by the application is the appropriate value for the given parameter (for example, Ss) and design code. This bug will be addressed in the near future.
Thursday morning, May 22nd, 2014
The issue described on May 5th was successfully resolved on the morning of Tuesday, May 6th. The application has continued to perform well since then.
Monday evening, May 5th, 2014
The database underlying this application is temporarily out of order. We apologize for the inconvenience. Our Web Team has been notified, and we anticipate that the issue should be resolved by Tuesday, May 6th.
Wednesday afternoon, April 9th, 2014
Daily testing confirms that the application continues to run well, with the exception of the Batch output issue described on April 2nd.
Wednesday morning, April 2nd, 2014
Routine testing continues to confirm that the application is producing output without delay. However, the Batch mode is running erratically on the new server (some requests generate Batch output files, but others do not). We anticipate that our web developers will have the availability to address this issue within the next 2-3 months.
Friday afternoon, March 21st, 2014
Regular testing confirms that the application is running without delay. Users who experience any problems with the application are encouraged to email us at email@example.com so that we can rectify the problem ASAP.
Thursday morning, March 13th, 2014
The new version of the application is running consistently. Most of the known issues (see 3/12/14 post below) have been resolved.
Wednesday morning, March 12th, 2014
The application is now available on an alternative server. An automatic redirect is in place to guide users to the new URL. For quicker access, users may wish to bookmark the following URL:
We are still working to address the underlying server problems to ensure the long-term sustainability of the application. In the meantime we believe that this version, while imperfect, will dependably and promptly provide the output values our users need for seismic design.
While the accuracy of the output values has been tested and confirmed, there are some known usability/formatting issues in this version of the application:
- An error message appears indicating that the browser is blocking pop-ups, even if pop-ups have already been enabled
Response spectra do not appear in Summary and Detailed Reports(RESOLVED) Some output maps do no appear(RESOLVED) TL values are not provided for some design code options(RESOLVED)
Tuesday morning, March 11th, 2014
Mid-morning performance: application running well
We have completed quality assurance testing of the application on the alternative server. As noted previously, some of the functionality (primarily plotting/imagery) has been reduced for the sake of a more rapid public release. The output values exactly match those provided by the current version of the application as well as the seismic design codes. The application will be available on the alternative server within 24 hours. More detailed information will be provided as soon as it is finalized.
Tuesday afternoon, March 11th, 2014
The application is now available on an alternative server. All the necessary adjustments for access have been made on our end, so users should be able to access the application through existing bookmarks, shortcuts. etc. We are still working on addressing the underlying server problems to ensure the long-term sustainability of the application. In the meantime we hope that this version, while imperfect, provides the output values our users need for seismic design.
Known issues in this version of the application:
- Error message appears indicating that the browser is blocking pop-ups, even if pop-ups have been enabled
- Response spectra do not appear in Summary and Detailed Reports
- Some output maps do no appear
- TL values are not provided for some design code options
Monday afternoon, March 10th, 2014
Early afternoon performance: application running slowly
We have almost completed a transfer of the application to an alternative server with greater processing capabilities. This transfer will improve application performance by enabling us to better handle the overwhelming traffic we have been experiencing.
Monday morning, March 10th, 2014
Early morning performance: application running slowly
Saturday morning, March 8th, 2014
Mid-morning performance: application running well
Friday afternoon, March 7th, 2014
Early/mid-afternoon performance: application overloaded
Late afternoon: application running well
Friday morning, March 7th, 2014
Early morning performance: application running (slowly)
Mid-morning performance: application overloaded as of 9am Pacific
Thursday evening, March 6th, 2014
Late afternoon/early evening performance: application completely overloaded by demand.
The USGS is in the process of moving the application to an even more robust server. This should allow for improved access to the application, although performance may still be slow and some features may be reduced. Anticipated time of application relaunch: early in the week of March 10th.
Thursday morning, March 6th, 2014
Early morning performance: somewhat slow, but effective
Mid/late morning performance: application completely overloaded by demand
Aided by adjustments to our server, output can be obtained early in the morning or from late afternoon through the night. The application is unresponsive during core business hours in California (9am-3pm Pacific). Efforts by the USGS to accommodate a higher volume of requests are ongoing.
Wednesday evening, March 5th, 2014
Users report, and our testing confirms, that the application will generate output when the user load is low (i.e., outside of business hours). One way users can help improve performance is to limit the number of submitted requests. This will reduce the load on our servers and should produce results more consistently. Rest assured that all results generated during this time are accurate.
For California users:
We have developed a spreadsheet model of the calculations used to obtain SS and S1 from the 2010 ASCE-7 Standard and the 2012 IBC. For sites in the Northern half of California (north of 37.5 degrees latitude), please use this spreadsheet:
Seismic design parameter values for the Northern half of California
For sites in the Southern half of California (37.5 degrees latitude and south), please use this spreadsheet: (Files removed now that application is running consistently, 4/09/14)
Seismic design parameter values for the Southern half of California
If the user inputs the Latitude and Longitude coordinates for a site into the yellow box, the spreadsheet will display the seismic design parameter values for that site in the blue box. The results generated by these California-specific spreadsheets exactly match those provided through the U.S. Seismic Design Maps web application. Please note that these are very large files.
Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
The spreadsheet provided here: (File removed now that application is running consistently, 4/09/14)
U.S. Design Interpolation spreadsheet
can be used to interpolate the data corresponding to the four grid points bounding a site.
The appropriate data files can be downloaded here:
U.S. seismic design data files
We hope this will give all of our users a good start, although for code compliance it will still be important to swap in the output from the application once it's functional. We will post improved alternatives here in the coming days.
Monday, March 3rd, 2014
Emergency meeting held by USGS to assess alternatives to web application until the server issues can be resolved. Basic interpolation spreadsheet, to be followed by more advanced interpolation spreadsheet, seen as options allowing for quickest and broadest distribution.