Data management is an increasingly important aspect of IOOS activities.  Data management plans and the coordination of activities between Regions and the IOOS Program Office ensure that data are maintained in easily accessible formats that are archived for long-term storage.  

A key premise of IOOS is that information, regardless of its method of collection, is a public resource, and therefore, one of the primary goals of DMAC is enabling the public to discover, access, and understand ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes information. This information can take many forms and includes, but is not limited to, a multidisciplinary (physical, chemical, biological, and geological) suite of direct and remotely sensed observations.  The DMAC subsystem must also be capable of managing numerical simulations of the ocean yielding hindcasts, nowcasts, or forecasts of ocean conditions, and analyses and syntheses of various information streams into value added information products such as ocean or ecosystem state estimates created by assimilating observations into numerical models.

The DMAC subsystem is essential infrastructure in the form of information technology, data managers, standard processes, and governance policies needed to manage ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes information through its entire lifecycle.  Inter- regional collaboration is strongly encouraged on all aspects of DMAC planning and implementation.



Data providers must allocate resources for data management planning and maintain the capacity to:

  • Enable open data sharing
  • Offer data in approved common data formats
  • Provide a data feed to GTS
  • Implement a service oriented architecture
  • Implement ontologies, controlled vocabularies and identifiers
  • Implement metadata standards and metadata management and query capabilities and provide this information to the IOOS Catalog

Planning efforts must include:

  • Ensuring local storage and offsite, permanent archiving of data at an approved facility
  • Creating data management plans (DMPs) for their data
  • Enabling or informing activities within the IOOS Modeling and Analysis Subsystem
  • Developing realistic plans for long-term, regional DAC operations, including automation, continuity of operations planning, infrastructure upkeep, collaborative open source software development, and other efficiencies aimed at making the DAC maintenance more stable, reliable, and efficient

Data providers must support coordination by being able to:

  • Participate in the operations, maintenance, and evolution of the national DMAC subsystem.
  • Actively participate in cross-regional data management policy and implementation plan development
  • Participate in national DMAC efforts such as Quality Assurance of Real-Time Oceanographic Data (QARTOD) .   Support QARTOD efforts by resourcing subject matter experts to participate in QARTOD workshops and to implement QARTOD results within their regional DAC.  Participate in all QARTOD workshops
  • Attend at least one IOOS sponsored DMAC meeting or national workshop/meeting per year to facilitate a closely coordinated national approach to IOOS data management
  • Participate in national data management committees and forums such as the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Observations’ (IWGOO) DMAC Steering Team, the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP), among others



Standards, Formats and Protocols:

On the Contribute Data page  data providers can find links to the protocols for:

General guidance on QARTOD, the modeling subsystem, can be found here


Implementation Methods/Practices

Data management plans must be included in documents for Regional Association certification and should be updated as needed in the progress reports from the RAs.    The Data Management Plan (DMP) should be aligned with the Data Management Guidance provided by NOAA in the Data Sharing Directive for NOAA Grants, Cooperative Agreements, and Contracts. A typical plan should include descriptions of the types of environmental data and information expected to be created during the course of the project; the tentative date by which data will be shared; the standards to be used for data/metadata format and content; methods for providing data access; approximate total volume of data to be collected; and prior experience in making such data accessible. IOOS standards for data sharing and metadata can be found elsewhere in these web pages.  Accepted submission of data to the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is the preferred method to satisfy the data archiving requirements.  A template for a DMP can be found in the NOAA DMP directive.  In addition the IOOS Program Office may request assistance from the RAs in preparing IOOS-wide data management plans.  In the future, DMPs will be required as a part of new grants or contracts.

U.S. IOOS Program’s DMAC efforts are subject to the procedural directives published by the NOAA Environmental Data Management Committee. The NOAA Environmental Data Management Framework (henceforth the Framework) provides the overarching guidance for Environmental Data Management within NOAA programs and the architecture of the DMAC subsystem is consistent with this Framework.  In particular, the Framework principles guide the DMAC subsystem, especially the notion of a complete Data Lifecycle, which requires planning, and resources to maximize the present and future value of IOOS information.  The Framework is further refined and tailored to IOOS goals in the IOOS/DMAC Guidance, detailing the specific elements of the DMAC subsystem that will be required of successful applicants.

Data providers should measure and document the successful deployment and use of regional DMAC products and services.  For example, they might do this by establishing diagnostic measures of service 'up-time' and documenting the number of stakeholder products using regional IOOS data services.