Outreach and Community Building

1. RCN Fora

Opportunities for meetings and dialogues are essential for forming communities. The RCN will employ a number of tools to encourage communication and collaboration.

Annual Workshops

The OceanObsNetwork will have one meeting a year that will be organized around a major international ocean conference. The workshop meetings will be patterned after the successful GEOSS Ocean Observation workshops funded by NSF and IEEE in May 2009 and September 201034. The meetings included presentations by key community members, breakout sessions as focus areas and then outcomes and resolutions. The workshops have provided outcomes that are already impacting the community. For example, the concept of a GEO Ocean Observation Community of Practice (CoP), “OceanObs,” was raised at the Bremen 2009 workshop and matured in the Seattle 2010 workshop. At Seattle, there were strong probes on whether to move forward with an OceanObs CoP and appropriate terms of reference for this CoP. The results of the discussion, led by Bob Weller of WHOI, were that a CoP should be formed and focused on two strategic areas:

  • Coordination and facilitation of ocean observations including (1) building of commitments from the different nations to implement and sustain global ocean observations; (2) capacity building; and (3) development of processes to ensure successful transition from research support to sustained operational support.
  • Articulation and outreach, making clear to governments, industry, and NGOs the need for and value of ocean observations (e.g., to augment coastal and marine spatial planning, especially in the US to implement the National Ocean Policy). 

For six months following the workshop, these recommendations were iterated with the members of the global ocean observation community and terms of reference were created for OceanObs CoP. In April 2011, the OceanObs CoP and its terms of reference were approved by GEO though the User Interface Committee. This is an example of how workshops can and should provide critical outcomes for the RCN and the ocean observing community. This is the RCN model.

At least one of the annual RCN workshops will focus on observational requirements and observation system needed to meet these requirements. The workshops will include inputs from many complementary activities. For example, the CZCP is frequently reviewing the observational requirements based on information and service needs of users in the coastal zone. Within the framework of RCN, and building on efforts of the IGOS Coastal Theme (2006) and the previous and current coastal panels of GOOS, the CZCP will carry out a review with particular focus on requirements for ocean observations including but not limited to geophysical and biological/biogeochemical variables such as sea level, waves, currents, winds, nutrients, oxygen, pH, pCO2, phytoplankton biomass and productivity, abundance of calcareous organisms, colored dissolved organic matter and total suspended matter. These and other observations will support key coastal and marine ecosystem issues and applications such as eutrophication and hypoxia, ocean acidification, harmful algal blooms, habitat loss and modification, water quality, and flooding. The RCN will provide a valuable opportunity to integrate and consolidate the results of these reviews.

The Steering Committee meeting will be held in conjunction with the RCN workshop. By having the workshop at a key international meeting, most participants will have funds available from their institutions to attend. This will encourage broader participation of both senior scientists and young professionals. It will also enable the RCN funds allocated to Steering Committee Member travel to be used more efficiently. Agendas for each workshop will focus on the evolving RCN participants’ and community needs, supporting key OceanObsNetwork objectives.

Quarterly Network Meetings

The purpose of the quarterly meetings is to review new activities and stimulate discussion of progress in the network objectives. Where specific issues arise which could further the outcomes of the RCN, teams of volunteers will be invited to address these subjects. This will stimulate brainstorming on goals, areas of further collaboration and opportunities to cooperate.

2. Web Site

The RCN will maintain a web presence for communications and networking. This will be an information source for providers and users alike. In addition to news and events, successful collaborations will be highlighted, a corner will be available for those needing help within the network, a calendar of events and meetings will be provided and a dialogue of positive impacts of observations is envisioned. Technical features of the web site will include a consolidated listing of observatory sensors worldwide, an area to discuss approaches for common sensor builds and a resource for standards and interoperability. The last of these will be aligned with the IEEE leadership of standards and interoperability for GEOSS. In addition, the GEO CZCP is developing a comprehensive information system for the coastal zones, and the RCN web site will feed into this system.