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Global Oceanographic Data Archeology and Rescue Project

The Global Oceanographic Data Archaeology and Rescue (GODAR) Project was created to consolidate and digitize physical oceanographic data, and preserve existing digital data against degradation or loss of availability. When the project was proposed in 1992, most oceanographic data was dispersed globally in a variety of digital and physical repositories in different, incompatible formats. The GODAR Project continues to locate and rescue historical oceanographic profile and plankton data that are at risk of being lost due to media decay and/or neglect.


The international oceanographic community has had a long history of exchanging oceanographic data that begins with the founding of the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) in 1902 and the publication of ICES-related oceanographic profile and plankton data in 1907. There continues to be a pressing need for the international oceanographic and climate communities to have access to the most complete oceanographic databases possible for research purposes and particularly for scientific studies in support of international agreements and treaties.

In December 1992, the United States National Oceanographic Data Center/World Data Center for Oceanography (NODC/WDC) presented a proposal for the GODAR Project at the 14th Session of the Committee on International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) where it was approved. The proposal was subsequently endorsed by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) -- the parent body of the IODE -- at the 17th IOC Assembly held in March 1993. At that time, it was further agreed that the WDC for Oceanography in Silver Spring, Maryland (now the World Data Service - Oceanography at NCEI), would lead this project. 

The goal of GODAR is to increase the volume of historical oceanographic data available to climate change research and other researchers by locating ocean profile and plankton data sets not yet in digital form, digitizing these data, and ensuring their submission to national data centers and the World Data Service. In addition, data on electronic media that are at risk of loss due to media degradation are also candidates for rescue.

The World Ocean Database (WOD) Project

In recognition of the success of the GODAR project, a proposal was presented at the 16th Session of the IODE (IODE-XVI), which was held in Lisbon, Portugal, in October-November 2000, to establish the World Ocean Database Project. This project is intended to stimulate international exchange of modern oceanographic data and encourage the development of regional oceanographic databases as well as the implementation of regional quality control procedures. The WOD was endorsed by the IODE at the conclusion of IODE-XVI, and subsequently approved by the IOC in June 2001.