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Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) Data Management


NCEI works with NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) to ensure that ocean exploration data collections are FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reuseable) to the public through careful stewardship of vital sonar, oceanographic, imagery, video, and collected specimen information that contribute greatly to scientific understanding of the world’s ocean.  

Together, NCEI and the OER Data Management Team perform cutting-edge end-to-end data management for OER-sponsored missions, partnerships, and projects, including expeditions aboard the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer. These combined efforts enable rapid and easy data access, facilitate efficient and effective long-term data preservation, and inspire further ocean exploration and research.

OER Data Products and Services

Interactive maps, access portals, and other tools for accessing data collected, developed, and funded by OER. 

Learn more about OER's interdisciplinary data management partnership

  • OER Digital Atlas

    An interactive map that provides access to a continuously updated archive of OER data, information, and products. The map includes search filters for expedition location, collection year, vessel name, platform type, and open text. Expeditions are displayed on a map and organized by year and location. Location points include access to expedition websites, data, and ensuing publications.

    Launch Atlas

  • OER Video Portal

    This portal provides access to thousands of hours of underwater video data collected by deep submergence vehicles. Features include a keyword enabled search, low-resolution previews of clips discovered by search criteria, and high-resolution video downloads. Additionally, the portal provides access to critical video metadata which may include dive summaries, expedition summaries, and other associated content. 

    Launch Portal

  • Benthic Deepwater Animal Identification Guide

    A collection of images assembled as a taxonomic reference of deepwater animals encountered by remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) deployed from NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer. The guide is currently limited to observations from U.S. marine protected areas in the central and western Pacific Ocean.

    View Guide

  • Okeanos Explorer - Live Operations Map

    This live operations web map tracks the operations of the Okeanos Explorer in near real time, and shares the ship's current location, the current cruise’s ship track, and daily bathymetric products. 

    Launch Map

  • Data Request Form

    Use this form to contact the OER Data Management Team for assistance in locating specific OER data or information.

    View Form

  • ArcGIS Online Services

    The OER GIS Data (NCEI) ArcGIS Online Group provides access to all NCEI-managed, OER data services. This group includes all data layers found within the Okeanos Explorer - Live Operations Map and more. Check this group regularly as NCEI develops more OER data services. 

    Visit Group

  • REST Services

    A directory of geospatial REST services that provide access to the contents of GIS servers for interactive web maps. They include service-level metadata, information for developers, alternative data downloads, and are compatible with most GIS software.

    View Services

About Video Data Management

OER uses remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to collect roughly ~45TB, or ~1000+ hours, of underwater video each field season. These high definition videos provide crucial insight into habitats and environmental conditions unobtainable from other sources alone. Video and related products captured by the Okeanos Explorer (2010 to present) make up the majority of OER’s data holdings. In 2014, the OER Data Management Team at NCEI began investigating contemporary video data annotation methods, short- and long-term storage systems, and data access options. Better known as the Video Data Management Modernization Initiative (VDMMI), this four year long investigation included a broad spectrum of activities:

  • Participation in the NOAA cloud pilot project
  • Participation in the Federal Agency Digital Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) study
  • Documentation of best practices (including extensible ISO 19115-2 metadata templates)
  • Completion of automated data load and extraction systems
  • Development of a video data discovery and access portal

This work culminated in the successful implementation of a modern, end-to-end video management system that provides direct online access to the complete collection of the Okeanos Explorer digital video data.

As new data collection technologies emerge and datasets grow larger, the OER Data Management Team will continue to refine, adapt, and innovate new data management capabilities, ensuring prompt and enduring access to OER information.

Graphic showing stages of the OER video data management process
Video Data Management process

Although NCEI’s video data management system was created specifically for video captured by ROVs onboard the Okeanos Explorer, certain elements are applicable - and have been applied - to other underwater video data collections. The team continues to digitize, archive, and make the legacy OER video (1999-2010) accessible; the resulting video data management guidance may aid in managing other legacy video collections. 

Contact the OER Data Management Team to discuss our video data inventory management solutions.

Related Sites, Organizations, and Documentation

Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) Data Management
Overview Of OER data management activities
Ocean Exploration Website
OER’s Ocean Exploration Website
Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative (FADGI)
Practical technical information for both file creators and file archivists. Led by the Library of Congress.
Video Data Management Modernization Initiative (VDMMI) and the OER Video Portal Project Report
Document describes the project and seeks to inform others with video data inventories that need to be preserved
Establishing Community Standards for Underwater Video Acquisitions Final Workshop Report
Workshop sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in June 2016 focusing on development of a community-driven strategy for managing underwater video data collections
Video Data Management Best Practices
Several best practices for a successful video data management system, developed by the OER Data Management Team
HDF5 White Paper
An Evaluation of Hierarchical Data Format Version 5 (HDF5) as a Storage Model for Archive and Delivery of Video Data
Metadata and Geoportals
Discussion of the importance of metadata to video data management
ISO Metadata Template for Video Segment Data
An ISO 19115-2 formatted metadata template at the segment-level designed and refined by the OER Data Management Team
OER Collection in NOAA’s Institutional Repository
The NOAA Central Library hosts an online collection of OER and OER funded documents. Users can search the repository for OER expedition plans, reports, publications that utilize OER funded data and more.
Citation Analysis
The NOAA Central Library creates a quarterly report of summary-level bibliometric analysis on known peer-reviewed journal articles produced from research catalyzed by OER