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Ocean Exploration Video Portal

The NOAA NCEI Ocean Exploration Video Portal is a search tool that enables users to discover, select, and retrieve videos in their original form from the archive holdings of the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Videos are selected based on seven user-selected search criteria: Cruise ID, Location Names, Keywords, Depth, Observation Dates, Geographic Coverage, and Other Search Terms. The videos are selected by finding matches within the "granule" level metadata available. If you have any comments or questions, please direct them to


Scientists and technicians annotate each video with various keywords to indicate what was observed. There are options to match the search phrase either ‘exactly’ or ‘anywhere’ using the radio buttons. Select one or more keywords to limit your search to videos which contain observations of a specific nature. You can choose to find records that contain all the keywords or any one of the keywords using ‘AND’/‘OR’ radio buttons. Make no selections and enter no keywords to search all videos.

Observation Dates

Start Date and End Date are defined as the starting and ending day, month, and year of the observations, respectively. Leave the fields blank to search across all videos.

Depth Range

Minimum and maximum depth are defined as the lowest and highest depth values of dive respectively within which the records need to be searched. Make no selection to search all videos.

Video type

Video type is defined as the what type of video is represented: "Segments" are the split videos from the original source. "Streams" are captured from the encoders on the ship and are streamed through the Internet. These are recorded at 720p(from FY13-FY16) and 1080p from FY17. "Highlights" are composed of the source video segments and edited together by videographers.


The location of each dive can be selected. Select one or more locations from the list, or make no selection to search all locations.


The Cruises section contains a list of short titles of our explorations with cruise ID embedded in them. Cruise ID is an alphanumeric designator assigned to each cruise of a ship. The Cruise ID is constructed by concatenating the two-letter abbreviation of the ship name, the last two digits of the year of the cruise, the number of the cruise during that year, and finally, if there were multiple legs of the cruise, the letter "L" followed by the number of the leg of the cruise. For example, the cruise ID "EX1404L2" is Leg 2 of the 4th cruise of the 2014 field season of NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer (EX). Select the specific cruises you are interested in, or make no selection to search all cruises.

Geographic Coverage

Geographic Coverage refers to the spatial coverage (latitude and longitude bounding box) of the overall observations. The user can select the options to include the video segments if the location is "intersecting" or "fully within" or "Anywhere" around the bounding box for the geographic search.

Search example

Imagine you are looking for videos that have observations of octopi in the Pacific Ocean. Here is how you can do the search:

  1. In the Keywords section: Type ‘S’ scroll down and select the term "OCTOPUS", then type ‘J’, scroll down and select ‘JELLYFISH’. Now you can select among the following options using radio buttons on top of keywords text field or just leave them to get default search search options ‘OR’ and ‘anywhere’.
    Selected options for radio buttons Searches for Returns
    OR anywhere *OCTOPUS* OR *JELLYFISH* records containing either octopus or jellyfish with search phrases occurring anywhere like ‘helmet jellyfish’
    OR exact OCTOPUS OR JELLYFISH records containing exact keywords octopus or jellyfish
    AND anywhere *OCTOPUS* AND *JELLYFISH* records containing both search phrases occurring anywhere
    AND exact OCTOPUS AND JELLYFISH records containing both search phrases exactly.

  2. In the Geographic Coverage section: hold the "shift" key, and draw a rectangle across the Pacific Ocean. Modify the the coordinates for latitude and longitude below the map if needed.
  3. Press "Search".

A list of videos matching your search criteria will be displayed. If you are interested in downloading any of the videos for preview, check the checkbox to the left of the title of the video. Once you have selected all of the videos you are interested in, press the "View Basket" button at the top left of the page.

If you wish to download the web streaming "preview" videos, check the "Web streaming" checkbox for each video you are interested in previewing. Then press the "Get File(s)" button. A ZIP file containing the preview videos will be downloaded to your computer.

If you wish to download the full resolution "ProRes" videos, check the "Full-resolution" checkbox for each video you are interested in downloading, then enter your E-mail address, press the "Get File(s)" button. An order will be placed to retrieve the high resolution videos from deep storage. The number of your order will be displayed. Once our automated system has retrieved the high resolution videos, they will be copied to a web site for download, and you will receive an email notifying you of the completion of your order. You can also click on the order number to view the status of your order. The Order Status page will update regularly.