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16 May 2011 Building interoperable data systems in the Gulf of Mexico: a case study
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Data collection in oceanography is undergoing a paradigm shift. We are moving from month-long shipboard surveys and mooring deployments with annual data recoveries to persistent adaptive observatories using networked, distributed and, sometimes, autonomous sensor systems returning data in near real-time. Real-time data have value that delayed-mode data do not (e.g., for rapid response to reduce impacts to ecosystems from oil spills). The challenge is automating the conversion and integration of sensor data to an analysis-ready state. The U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System data management group identified the core elements, including data discovery, access, and transport, that are required to build interoperable systems. In practice, these require adoption of standards for vocabularies, data models, and Web Services. The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observation System (GCOOS) began as a regional collaboration of eleven nonfederal sub-regional observatories whose data systems had evolved independently and were not interoperable. Grants allowed us to deploy a service-oriented architecture consisting of OPeNDAP transports and standards-based Open Geospatial Consortium Sensor Observation Service web interfaces with Observation and Measurement encodings in each of the observatories. We constructed and deployed a common vocabulary based on the NetCDF Climate and Forecast Metadata Conventions and Climate and Forecast standard names. The observatories host XML files, listing their active sensors, that are compiled into catalogs of available assets. Our regional data portal aggregates data from the observatories and constructs data products for stakeholder groups. These capabilities were available during and following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The GCOOS-built capability for interoperability made the data and products readily available to the incident command centers in hours instead of months.
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Matthew K. Howard "Building interoperable data systems in the Gulf of Mexico: a case study", Proc. SPIE 8029, Sensing Technologies for Global Health, Military Medicine, Disaster Response, and Environmental Monitoring; and Biometric Technology for Human Identification VIII, 802919 (16 May 2011);

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