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formerly the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC)...  more on NCEI

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Customer Comments

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  • "Thank you very much for your precious help!" - from a researcher needing help reading XBT data
  • "I appreciate the information you gave me so much. I got all the information I needed to complete my project." - From a college student
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  • "Thank you so much! You have added a great deal of real information to our study of physics of the ocean, and you make us proud to know we are on the leading edge."

Timeline of Directors

  • Dr. Margarita Gregg
    Dec. 2007 - present
  • Terrance Tielking
    Acting Jan. 2007-Dec. 2007
  • Zdenka Willis
    Jan. 2006 - Jan. 2007
  • Kurt Schnebele
    Acting Jan. 2004-Dec. 2005
  • Dr. H. Lee Dantzler
    Jan. 2001 - Jan. 2004
  • Kurt Schnebele
    Acting Dec. 1999 - Jan. 2001
  • Dr. Hank Frey
    Jul. 1996 - Dec. 1999
  • Ron Fauquet
    Acting Sep. 1995 - Jul. 1996
  • Bruce Douglas
    Mar. 1992 - Sep. 1995
  • Kent Hughes
    Acting Jul. 1991 - Mar. 1992
  • Greg Withee
    Aug. 1985 - Jul. 1991
  • Capt. Ralph Land
    Mar. 1985 - Jul. 1985
  • Ed Ridley
    Oct. 1980 - Mar. 1985
  • Robert Ochinero
    Nov. 1971 - Feb. 1980
  • Dr. Thomas Austin
    1967 - Nov. 1971
  • Dr. Woodrow C. Jacobs
    Nov. 1961 - 1967
  • * Harold Dubach
    Acting until first director
50 Years of Scientific Data Stewardship. NODC's 50th Anniversary

NODC's 50th Anniversary

NOAA's National Oceanographic Data Center Celebrates 50 Years of Service to the Ocean Community

NOAA's National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) opened its doors on November 1, 1960, with 29 employees ready to take on the challenge of compiling, sorting, and organizing the disparate collections of oceanographic data into a single system. This was a daunting task, considering that the U.S. Navy had already determined that data were coming in at such a rate that it was nearly impossible to keep up. The work soon began with a collection of unclassified data that consisted of approximately 2,000,000 machine-punched cards containing about 100,000 stations of oceanographic data. This data consisted of about 3 million observations of temperatures, waves, currents, and depths. In comparison to today's data collections, NODC's archive currently contains over 44 terabytes of data packaged into more than 86,000 archived original datasets and hundreds of different ocean data types.

In January of 1961, NODC was formally dedicated by the Honorable James H. Wakelin, Jr., the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research and Development. Three hundred guests were present, including members of Congress and representatives of supporting agencies. Dr. Woodrow C. Jacobs was appointed the first NODC Director.

In 1970, NODC was formally transferred from the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office to the newly formed National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), under the Department of Commerce. As the science of oceanography grew and developed over the decades, so did the Data Center. In 2000, the National Coastal Data Development Center was incorporated into NODC expanding its focus from global oceans to include coastal ocean areas. NODC now maintains the world's largest collection of oceanographic data.

The mission of NODC is to provide scientific stewardship of marine data and information. Archived data includes physical, biological, and chemical measurements derived from in situ oceanographic observations and satellite remote sensing, and is also used as a leading source to monitor global environmental changes, such as global ocean heat content.

Ways in which NODC has impacted the global Oceanographic Community:

  • NODC preserves and provides access to scientific quality ocean data and information for current and future generations.
  • NODC is recognized globally as an authoritative long term archive for ocean data and information.
  • NODC has provided oceanographic researchers around the world a place to preserve valuable ocean data for the benefit of future generations.
  • NODC's products are used as a leading source to monitor global ocean climate changes.
  • NODC contains the world's largest collection of publicly available oceanographic data.

NODC Timeline

  • 1959

    Working Group on Data Recording and Standardization of the Coordinating Committee on Oceanography recommends that a NODC be established at the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office.
  • 1960

    On November 1, NODC begins operating in the U.S. Navy Yard. NODC is officially established under the administration of the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office.
  • 1961

    NODC is formally dedicated; Dr. Woodrow C. Jacobs becomes the first NODC Director.
  • 1962

    The World Data Center A for Oceanography becomes a part of NODC.
  • 1963

    NODC is elevated from Division to Department within the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office.
  • 1967

    Establishment of Liasion Officers network at key ocean research and academic institutions.
  • 1968

    First data on magnetic tape arrives, begins transition from paper media.
  • 1970

    NODC is transferred to the Environmental Data Services, a line office under the newly formed National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • 1982

    The National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service is organized, the NOAA Line Office of which NODC joined.
  • 1989

    The NOAA Library is added to NODC.
  • 1990

    NODC hosts an international workshop on "Data Archaeology", formalizing the need to search for irreplaceab le historical data sets. Email is available on all of NODC's personal computers.
  • 1993

    The Ocean Climate Laboratory is officially created as a new Division.
  • 1994

    NODC provides information regarding data holdings, products and services the internet.
  • 1996

    NODC moves from Washingtonn, DC to its present location in Silver Spring, Maryland.
  • 2000

    NODC scientists discover that he upper 300m of the world ocean has warmed in the last 50 years.
    The National Coastal Data Development Center is created as a new division.
  • 2001

    NODC starts managing the Coral Reef Information System (CoRIS) for NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program.
  • 2002

    NODC expands to provide scientific stewardship of satellite-derived oceanograophic datasets and develop consistently-processed satellite-based climate data records
  • 2003

    NODC's present-day Archive Management System is developed, capable of archiving any type of oceanographic data in the world.
  • 2006

    The first automated data ingest stream made it into the archive, with no human intervention.
  • 2010

    NODC provides key data management and analysis support for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident..
  Last modified:    Thu, 8-Oct-2015 18:39 UTC
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