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Data Management

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    Mike Smit Dalhousie University

MEOPAR data management addresses over-arching issues associated with access to data relevant to MEOPAR’s long-term objective of “information and knowledge exchange” and to the 5-year objective to “implement new approaches for sharing natural and social science expertise, data and infrastructure in order to respond more effectively to marine emergencies.”

Discovery of, and access to, observed ocean data is key to responding to marine risks, effectively managing ocean resources, and conducting excellent research. This is a challenge across Canada’s ocean regions, with data and forecasts collected by various programs and agencies being scattered across a range of web pages that can be difficult to find and access. Canada's leading oceans research centres have been seeking to address this issue of fragmentation for decades, and various scholarly reports and publications have advocated for a national integrated ocean observation system for Canada (CIOOS). MEOPAR, with its national scope and networked approach, is well positioned to collaborate with regional ocean data managers, government agencies, ocean-related industries, and academia to support and advance this important initiative.  The interdisciplinary nature of the problem requires information managers, computer scientists, oceanographers, biologists, and many others to identify and implement solutions; interdisciplinary networks are necessary to support these kinds of collaborations. 

Through this project and the support of the admin centre:

  • A summer student program has been created with 5 leading ocean data centres, supporting improved ocean data management for the centres while creating computer scientists trained and experienced in managing ocean data, with the goal of ensuring that Canada has the human resources required to coordinate and mobilize the fast-growing volume of ocean data
  • Hosted an Expert Forum on Ocean Data Management, where international experts from ocean data networks in the US and Europe worked with Canadian stakeholders to identify best practices and define a coherent vision for CIOOS. The resulting workshop paper will inform government policy on CIOOS.
  • Launched oceanviewer.org to connect regular citizens to the rich data products produced by Canadian and international ocean observation and forecasting experts. The objectives of OceanViewer are to:
    • Create a platform for “citizen oceanography” where citizens can, themselves, participate in collecting, presenting and sharing ocean-related data.
    • Provide prominent links to data providers’ own sites for deeper exploration of ocean data;
    • Use the interface as a “shop window” on ocean data and forecasts, in cooperation with data providers, so that interested persons can readily see what the ocean is doing and explore the variety of data and forecasts available;
    • Develop a common interface for easy data visualization focused on non-specialist end-users and the general public


  • Diego Ibarra Dalhousie University


  • Smit ,Mike ,. 2016, Converged Reality: A Data Management Research Agenda for a Service-, Cloud-, and Data-driven Era, 49th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, p.1653-1662,
  • Maria-Elena Froese, Melanie Tory. 2016, Lessons Learned from Designing Visualization Dashboards, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications Journal, 36(2), pp. 83-89,10.1109/MCG.2016.33.