Making Data Available via the Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office – Implementation Details

A poster by M.D. Allison, R.C. Groman, C.L. Chandler, D.M. Glover and P.H. Wiebe for AGU Fall 2008

The Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO) was created from the U.S. Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (U.S. JGOFS) and the U.S. GLOBal ocean ECosystems dynamics (U.S. GLOBEC) Data Management Offices. The BCO-DMO is a NSF funded project that provides support for scientists funded by either the NSF’s Biological or Chemical Oceanography Program Office to facilitate making their projects’ data publically accessible. To extend the domains of the U.S. JGOFS and U.S. GLOBEC programs and to enable new capabilities, the BCO-DMO formalized our metadata collection efforts and designed and created the BCO-DMO metadata database. This database, together with our new website content ( and a geospatial interface based on the University of Minnesota’s MapServer software, currently provide access to information and data from nine science programs and their associated 27 projects. This poster highlights some of the details of our system’s design decisions that support the data discoverability, access, display, download and interoperability features, and capabilities of the BCO-DMO data interface.

Initial efforts to use existing metadata schemas were unsuccessful as they did not address our specific needs or were overly generalized and therefore more complicated than necessary. The database design has evolved over time as we have learned more about what information needs to be preserved in a machine readable way. Our latest enhancements include database tables to store additional information about the field or variable names that further describe the experimental, at sea, and historical data in order to support our new geospatial interface. Other features will facilitate data interoperability, provide flexibility in supporting different input data formats, and support the preservation of data provenance.

Poster PDF