The ability of a strong-motion network to resolve wavefields can be described on three axes: frequency, amplitude, and space. While the need for spatial resolution is apparent, for practical reasons that axis is often neglected. TREMOR is a MEMS-based accelerograph using wireless Internet to minimize lifecycle cost. TREMOR instruments can economically augment traditional ones, residing between them to improve spatial resolution. The TREMOR instrument described here has dynamic range of 96 dB between ±2 g, or 102 dB between ±4 g. It is linear to <1% of full scale (FS), with a response function effectively shaped electronically. We developed an economical, very low noise, accurate (<1%FS) temperature compensation method. Displacement is easily recovered to 10-cm accuracy at full bandwidth, and better with care. We deployed prototype instruments in Oakland, California, beginning in 1998, with 13 now at mean spacing of ∼3 km—one of the most densely instrumented urban centers in the United States. This array is among the quickest in returning (PGA, PGV, Sa) vectors to ShakeMap, ∼75 to 100 s. Some 13 events have been recorded. A ShakeMap and an example of spatial variability are shown. Extensive tests of the prototypes for a commercial instrument are described here and in a companion paper.

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