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.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Nations united by a common language

The quote "Two nations separated by a common language", attributed to George Bernard Shaw, has often been used to describe the relationship between the UK and the USA. On Friday 7th December 2012, however, at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, it appears that, in the words of Bob Dylan, "the times they are a-changin'".
Adam Leadbetter attended the meeting and presented a poster on the BODC's web services for the NERC Vocabulary Server version 2.0 (NVS2.0) in the session "Semantics and Cyberinfrastructures for Next Generation Science".
George Bernard Shaw, 1936. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons ©

The NVS2.0, developed by the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) over recent years with funding from NERC and the EU NETMAR project, provides access to controlled vocabularies and is used by the wider environmental science community. Within NETMAR, NVS2.0 has been used or
  • semantic validation of inputs to chained Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Processing Services
  • smart discovery of data and services
  • support for multiple human languages
  • integration of data from distributed nodes of the International Coastal Atlas Network (ICAN)
Since its deployment, NVS2.0 has been adopted within the European SeaDataNet community’s software products.

Crossing the Atlantic

Meanwhile, at the meeting in the "Linked Data for Earth and Space Science" session there were three posters, presented by colleagues from the United States, showing their use of the BODC NVS2.0 web services.
  • Adam Shepherd and Elizabeth Coburn from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) demonstrated both a Drupal-based website that allows mappings to terms in our vocabularies and a shipboard event logging system, which uses those same vocabularies
  • Robert Arko from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) showed how the Rolling Deck to Repository (R2R) project links data from US university research vessels to other repositories using concepts from the NERC Vocabulary Server

Poster references

The NERC Vocabulary Server: Version 2.0. Adam Leadbetter and Roy Lowry.
All presented at:
American Geophysical Union
San Francisco, United States. 03 - 07 December 2012.