Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Today's mission: glider data management

Three members of the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC), Justin Buck, Mark Hebden and Lise Quesnel, have just returned from a scientific mission where they worked with colleagues to formalise protocols for glider data management across Europe.
A Slocum glider starting its mission. ©

Gliders provide a relatively low cost method for acquiring data remotely. They perform missions to traverse oceanographic areas of interest collecting data as they go. In recent years, the technology has matured sufficiently to make these platforms a very effective means of data collection. Therefore it is important that glider missions be supported by an appropriate data management strategy, ensuring that data and metadata are preserved in a sustainable format that is exchangeable between communities.

As the nominated Data Assembly Centre (DAC) for UK glider data, BODC joined colleagues from the Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) in Italy and the host organisation, Ifremer, for the week long mission in Brest. The goal was to create consistent and coordinated European glider data management procedures. Funding came from the EU FP7 Gliders for Research, Ocean Observation & Management (GROOM) project, under the Everyone's Gliding Observatories (EGO) initiative.
Over the course of the week guidelines were finalised, real-time quality control procedures were developed and a preliminary 'EGO format' for glider data (based on SeaDataNet Climate and Forecasting (CF) compliant NetCDF) was generated.
BODC are committed to ensuring that UK glider data are managed in a way that will ensure their long-term value. Achieving full interoperability with the international community will help to achieve that goal. Routine channelling of the UK's near-real-time glider data to a Global Data Assembly Centre (GDAC) for Europe will begin in 2013.
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