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NCEI Cooperation with IOC/IODE and ICES

Over the years an organizational infrastructure has been created to support the international exchange of oceanographic data. The U.S. National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and its collocated World Data Center (WDC) for Oceanography, Silver Spring participate in this activity primarily through cooperation with two organizations.

  • International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO
  • Data and Information Group (DIG), an operational group within the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)

International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange

The International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) system was initiated in 1961. The IODE promotes the adoption of practices intended to facilitate the exchange of marine data internationally. The IODE approach uses task teams, groups of experts, and discipline oriented rapporteurs to deal with specialized problems confronting international oceanographic data and information exchange. Among its accomplishments the IODE has:

  • standardized forms for reporting and coding data
  • assisted the development of national oceanographic data centers
  • supported and facilitated the exchange of, and access and referral to, information resulting from international programs such as Marine Environmental Data Information (MEDI) and Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Information System (ASFIS) Expert Register
  • provided a mechanism for creation of Responsible National Oceanographic Data Centers that provide special data processing and compilation support for specific programs
  • issued and updated the Manual on International Oceanographic Data Exchange

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)

Established in 1902 in Charlottenlund, Denmark, the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) is recognized as the oldest of the international organizations in oceanography and fisheries research. An independent, intergovernmental organization, ICES, was created as a regional center to collect data from the northeast Atlantic Ocean and marginal seas to support the fishing activities of its member countries.

In 1958, a data exchange program was established between ICES and the U.S. Navy Hydrographic (later Naval Oceanographic) Office. Responsibility for U.S. participation in this program was transferred to the NODC when the NODC was created in 1961. Data exchange between ICES and the U.S. NODC and WDC, Oceanography continues today, and ICES has been an active participant in the Global Oceanographic Data Archaeology and Rescue (GODAR) Project. In April 1997, the U.S. NODC hosted the annual meeting of ICES' Working Group on Marine Data Management at the NODC facility in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Ocean Data Centers in Other Countries

Today the U.S. National Oceanographic Data Center is one of the national oceanographic data centers or similar organizations in about 50 countries. The data centers in this global network serve as oceanographic data repositories and distribution facilities for their respective countries and cooperate to promote international exchange of oceanographic data. Through participation in the activities and programs of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission's Committee on International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) they work to coordinate their activities and foster worldwide exchange of scientific data and information.