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With more than 90 percent of the world's ocean still unmapped and unexplored, the need for ocean exploration has never been more critical. NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) provides the Nation with a unique capability to discover and investigate new ocean areas and phenomena and to conduct the basic research required to capitalize on discoveries. This information is used to bring new understanding and benefits to research, management, policy, and the public.

Why Manage Data ? Download One-Pager

The Report of the President's Panel for Ocean Exploration, "Discovering Earth's Final Frontier: A U.S. Strategy for Ocean Exploration" defined exploration as "discovery through disciplined diverse observations and recording of the findings." Sharing the exploration results - through sound data management practices - is one of five critical exploration program components. An interdisciplinary data management partnership between OER, NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, the NOAA Library and other partners ensures that the scientific data and information resulting from NOAA's exploration program are documented and widely accessible.

Data Management Objectives

The volume and diversity of scientific data and information collected during ocean exploration and research activities is extensive, and presents a unique data management challenge. The data management team has implemented a systematic workflow, resulting in an overarching, "End-to End" (E2E) approach toward managing exploration information from concept through archival with data stewardship objectives in mind. Federal policy and standards, community best practices, existing software tools, and operational practices are integrated to meet key objectives.

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  • End-to-end system begins with data management planning
  • Robust, standards-driven documentation program
  • Operational, online GIS tools provides access to geospatial database
  • Multidisciplinary support to NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer
  • Exploration results disseminated to the public via Digital Atlas


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