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The proliferation of ocean observatories in the absence of agreed-upon standards for instrument and user interfaces and observatory control functions will constrain interoperability and cross-linking of disparate datasets. This will in turn limit the scientific impact of ocean observatories and increase their operating costs. Devising hardware-based standards will be difficult given the different internal architectures of existing and planned ocean observatories. This paper proposes that instrument, data, and observatory control processes be wrapped with standard web services which will provide a global software standard for these observatory functions. In addition to facilitating interoperability, state-full web services with workflow bindings for observatory instrument and data processes will enable dynamic user control of observatory configuration and the creation of multiple virtual instrument networks within one or more ocean observatories. These concepts are defined and illustrated through a number of use scenarios.
The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.