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World Data Service for Oceanography

World Data System

The World Data Service (WDS) for Oceanography (formerly The World Data Center for Oceanography, Silver Spring) is one component of a global network of discipline subcenters that facilitate international exchange of scientific data. Originally established as the World Data Center system during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58, the new World Data System continues to function under the guidance of the International Council for Science (ICSU). WDS-Oceanography is hosted by NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). NCEI also hosts the World Data Center for Meteorology and the World Data Service for Paleoclimatology.

In accordance with principles set forth by ICSU, the World Data Service for Oceanography (WDS-Oceanography) acquires, catalogues, and archives data, publications, and data inventory forms and makes them available to requestors in the international scientific community. Oceanographic data contributed to the WDS-Oceanography become automatically available to scientific investigators in any country. Thus, there can be no restrictions or limitations placed on data exchanged through the WDS system.

The WDS-Oceanography Catalogue will no longer be updated. For access to all data available through WDS-Oceanography, please go to the NCEI World Ocean Database WODselect.

Publications and Data Products

All data and publications received by WDS for Oceanography are described in the "Catalogue of Data". Publications received by WDS for Oceanography that do not contain cruise data or information are inventoried then provided to the NOAA Central Library for inclusion in the NOAA Library Catalog.

WDS for Oceanography is hosted by NCEI. Data submitted to the WDS-Oceanography that are amenable to processing and incorporation into NCEI's data files thus become part of NCEI's global data bank, the World Ocean Database, and are available through the NCEI Internet Website or by contacting WDS-Oceanography.

Cruise Summary Report Program

WDS for Oceanography supports the Cruise Summary Report (CSR - formerly ROSCOP) international marine data inventory system. Data inventory forms, such as CSR, enable inventory centers to determine the availability of internationally exchangeable data in advance of the actual receipt of the data and are also useful in providing a referral service to data not yet available through the WDC system. The WDS utilizes the automated ROSCOP information base maintained by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), as well as the SeaDataNet Cruise Summary Report Inventory maintained by Germany’s Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie /Deutsches Ozeanographisches Datenzentrum (BSH/DOD). Online submission forms and instructions are available on the ICES and SeaDataNet websites.

Exchange Policy

Limitations in funding, personnel, or facilities may preclude direct or free provision of printed information by the WDS. For requests for unusually large amounts of data, specially formatted data, derived data products, or data to be obtained from outside the WDS system, WDS for Oceanography will often be required to recover the costs of processing and shipping, or, at its discretion, may arrange that the request be serviced by a regional, national, or discipline service.


Dr. Hernan Garcia

Director, World Data Service for Oceanography

  • NOAA SSMC-3 4th Floor Room 4626
  • 1315 East-West Highway
  • Silver Spring, MD 20910-3282
  • Telephone: 301-713-4856
  • E-mail:

More information on the World Data System