NOAA releases 2013 World Ocean Database: The largest collection of scientific information about the oceans
From the post:
NOAA has released the 2013 World Ocean Database, the largest, most comprehensive collection of scientific information about the oceans, with records dating as far back as 1772. The 2013 database updates the 2009 version and contains nearly 13 million temperature profiles, compared with 9.1 in the 2009 database, and just fewer than six million salinity measurements, compared with 3.5 in the previous database. It integrates ocean profile data from approximately 90 countries around the world, collected from buoys, ships, gliders, and other instruments used to measure the “pulse” of the ocean.
Profile data of the ocean are measurements taken at many depths, from the surface to the floor, at a single location, during the time it takes to lower and raise the measuring instruments through the water. “This product is a powerful tool being used by scientists around the globe to study how changes in the ocean can impact weather and climate,” said Tim Boyer, an oceanographer with NOAA’s National Oceanographic Data Center.
In addition to using the vast amount of temperature and salinity measurements to monitor changes in heat and salt content, the database captures other measurements, including: oxygen, nutrients, chlorofluorocarbons and chlorophyll, which all reveal the oceans’ biological structure.
For the details on this dataset see: WOD Introduction.
The introduction notes under 1.1.5 Data Fusion:
It is not uncommon in oceanography that measurements of different variables made from the same sea water samples are often maintained as separate databases by different principal investigators. In fact, data from the same oceanographic cast may be located at different institutions in different countries. From its inception, NODC recognized the importance of building oceanographic databases in which as much data from each station and each cruise as possible are placed into standard formats, accompanied by appropriate metadata that make the data useful to future generations of scientists. It was the existence of such databases that allowed the International Indian Ocean Expedition Atlas (Wyrtki, 1971) and Climatological Atlas of the World Ocean (Levitus, 1982) to be produced without the time-consuming, laborious task of gathering data from many different sources. Part of the development of WOD13 has been to expand this data fusion activity by increasing the number of variables that NODC/WDC makes available as part of standardized databases.
As the NODC (National Oceanographic Data Center) demonstrates, it is possible to curate data sources in order to present a uniform data collection.
But curated data set remains inconsistent with data sets not curated by the same authority.
And combining curated data with non-curated data requires effort with the curated data, again.
Hard to map towards a destination without knowing its location.
Topic maps can capture the basis for curation, which will enable faster and more accurate integration of foreign data sets in the future.