Southeast Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observation System (SEACOOS) Information Management: Evolution of a Distributed Community System
Abstract:The Southeast Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing System (SEACOOS) established a comprehensive information management (IM) system, comprising a distributed hardware and software applications infrastructure that enabled access to and processing of complex databases from multiple sites. Initial focus was on the development of a set of standards for data transport mechanisms, vocabulary, and metadata. Data were organized in a relational database structure, and new developments addressed identified needs, such as more rapid aggregation and posting of near-real-time data. For presentation of data, map-based products were developed, including both pre-generated, "report-based" maps and interactive maps generated by users at their browsers. Map development was based on parallel developments in database structure, data standards, and data transport mechanisms that enabled aggregation and normalization of distributed data. The open source MapServer application was used, along with PostgreSQL and its extension PostGIS, as the basic mapping tool. A data animation presentation platform was created that combined maps and graphs with the capacity to select GIS layers, scale, types of observation to graph, and time steps. Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) issues were also addressed, with developments in automated testing of data and filtering and flagging systems. A primary concern of the IM system was to support the path towards interoperability among national and international ocean observing system elements. Included are "lessons learned" that promote the efficiency and stability of regional systems, such as the need for appropriate redundancy and a focus on region-specific applications that demonstrate value in the relatively near term.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 2008
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