Created: January 1, 2008 at 4pm EST

As the scientific community prepares to participate in the development of ocean observing systems and systems of systems, data managers are struggling with the need to provide relevant and unambiguous information to enable selective evaluation of data quality in real time.

Whether integrating oceanographic data into a global climate model or checking the wave height to decide whether to grab your surfboard, each user of a network of oceanographic sensors will have different requirements for quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC). In a world where machine-to-machine interaction is replacing provider-user discretion, there exists an urgent need to develop methods of query and vocabularies that carefully and explicitly define processing and procedures taken toward QA/QC. Methods must also be developed and implemented to provide a means to document data quality flags generated by legacy systems around the world.

Towards this end, this project brings together the strengths of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) development team with oceanographers and data managers working in the ocean observing systems community. With support from NOAA, a grass roots organization called QARTOD (Quality Assurance in Real Time Oceanographic Data) has met regularly over the past few years, working towards the definition of minimum requirements in QA/QC in four focus areas: waves, in situ currents, CTD and dissolved oxygen. This project supplements the ongoing QARTOD activities by demonstrating a specific implementation of the QARTOD recommendations. For each focus area, a dynamic group will define and document the QA/QC requirements, as they relate to OGC standards, in particular the Sensor Web Enablement initiative. With these requirements, the development team at University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH), led by Michael Botts, will prepare a common data model, providing data dictionaries and defining relevant profiles in SensorML. Janet Fredericks (WHOI) and Julie Bosch (NCDDC) will coordinate the data dictionary content development amongst the QARTOD and observing system community members and the data model development at UAH. The data model, dictionaries and profiles will be reviewed by focus area experts (researchers), as well as representatives from data centers (data providers) to confirm that a functional and feasible model has been developed. Once the model is finalized, the development team will design any required methods and work with WHOI and NCDDC to generate a tutorial for implementation of the SWE standards for the QA/QC of the focus area (e.g., waves). The UAH team will also provide associated XML-generating tools that evolve for the generation of QA/QC templates for each of the focus areas, facilitating implementation by participating data providers.

Through this project award, a limited number of local data providers will implement the QA/QC standards, as defined within this project through the OOSTethys Sensor Observations Service (SOS), maintained by the Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System (GoMOOS) as part of a relatively broad community activity involving the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) and the Marine Metadata Interoperability (MMI) project. Other OOSTethys participants will be informed of the capabilities through the Cookbooks and Best Practices documents being developed on their site (www.oostethys.org), and encouraged to participate in each specific focus area. The deliverables will be made publicly available through the MMI web site (www.marinemetadata.org) and open source software implementations and cookbooks through www.oostethys.org.

Other principal participants on this team include Philip Bogden (GoMOOS), as a leader in the OOSTethys and OGC OE, and Harvey Seim and Sara Haines (North Carolina Coastal Ocean Observing System (NCCOOS), who will participate by providing the experience gained in their recent implementation of QA/QC standards using OPeNDAP and will also develop and share tools to translate those OPeNDAP standards into OGC standards, as defined within this project.

Janet Fredericks
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution