Promote Standards and Interoperability including approaches for common sensor builds

The many issues to be addressed are ease of access, consistency of access, timeliness of access, availability of metadata, quality of data and stability of provenance. The challenges are significant. While there are significant efforts in ocean and marine standards through ISO, OGC, IEEE, NSF, NASA, NOAA and other federal agencies, the steps forward are modest. Individual programs are also working to address these subjects. For example, OOSTethys is an ongoing project that is developing servers, clients, registries, and a suite of open-source software to help the international community publish near real-time ocean observation data in standard formats

When the question of interoperability is raised, most respondents think of data interoperability. There are really three facets of interoperability that are important in a global scale “system of systems:” sensor and infrastructure, data, and access/distribution. Infrastructure interoperability relates to the functionality and interfaces of observatories providing utilities and infrastructure for sensors and information flow. Work has been ongoing in OOI, at MBARI for MARS and elsewhere to define utility (power, control) and information interfaces for different sensors as discussed at the 2010 Seattle GEO ocean observations workshop25. While these impact the costs and utility of a single observatory, it is a critical issue for interoperability between observatories (where similar instruments may be used at several systems).

The RCN can constructively contribute to these areas by encouraging a global catalog of existing and planned standards for interfaces within observatories from an end-to-end system perspective. The RCN will invite organizations such as the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society, MTS and others to participate in the collection and cataloging of interface information from observatory teams and vendors. The goal is to provide core information upon which interoperability on a global scale can be envisioned.

For access, many new approaches are being tested including those using web 2.0 capabilities. Brokers have been demonstrated in the EuroGEOSS project26 and web processing is maturing27. The RCN will actively encourage dialogue for advanced web technologies and related standards for ocean applications, again addressing the viability of global-scale implementation.

For data applications, in addition to facilitating data access through standards and policy, data quality and provenance need to be addressed. This issue was raised, for example, as a practical concern in Europe for MyOcean when data of “known quality” is needed for disaster response. Quality indicators are being addressed in the QA4EO GEO task led by CEOS and IEEE 28. The RCN will support the dialogue on quality indicators, drawing on the experts in the network and interacting with the broader IT/scientific expertise available within the international community.