GCOOS Data Management & Communications Committee meeting

26-27 April 2006
Ocean Springs, MS

The first annual meeting of the GCOOS Data Management and Communications Committee was held at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, MS, on 26-27 April 2006. Dr. Sharon Walker, Director of the J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium, hosted the meeting. Attendees, their affiliations, and their GCOOS roles are given in Appendix A. The agenda for the meeting is given in Appendix B.

1.0 Opening of Meeting

1.1 Welcome, introductions, and logistics

The Data Management and Communications Committee met in plenary session with the Products and Services Committee and the Observing Systems Committee during the morning of 26 April 2006. Ann Jochens, GCOOS Regional Coordinator, welcomed the participants, introduced the Board members present, and explained logistics for the meeting. Participants then introduced themselves to the group.

1.2 Objectives of the meetings

Ray Toll, Chair of the GCOOS Board of Directors, gave a brief introduction and an overview of the purpose of the meeting. One major purpose of the meeting was to provide committee members with an overview of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) that constitutes the U.S. implementation of GOOS, and the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) and the GCOOS Regional Association (GCOOS-RA). The second major purpose was to organize each Committee, including election of the Committee Chair, development of its action plan for the coming year, and set up of its methods for conducting its work and its interactions with the other GCOOS-RA Committees and Councils and Board.

2.0 Overviews of the Observing Systems

2.1 Overview of GOOS and the U.S. IOOS

Worth Nowlin gave a presentation reviewing the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), with a focus on the National Backbone. Questions and discussion followed. In the discussion, Nowlin mentioned that the global component of GOOS was working well, but that the coastal component of IOOS needed sharper planning before it would be likely to receive substantial funding.

2.2 Overview of GCOOS

Jan van Smirren, GCOOS Board member, presented an overview of GCOOS. It was suggested that a list of acronyms should be developed. Discussion centered on the relationship of GCOOS with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. As a coordinated effort by the Governors of the five Gulf states, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) plays a prominent role in the broad community of stakeholders in the GCOOS. Within the range of activities that will help realize the seven societal goals of the IOOS, the GOMA has identified five priority topics for the Gulf of Mexico. Ties are being developed between GOMA and GCOOS to ensure that these topics are being adequately addressed.

2.3 Synopsis of GCOOS workshops

Ann Jochens then gave a synopsis of the eight past GCOOS workshops and plans for future targeted sector workshops. Some of the past workshops and these future workshops are intended to develop prioritized measurements and products thought to be needed by specific private sector stakeholders, to provide estimates of economic benefits of such measurements or products to the sector, and to provide suggestions of pilot projects that might lead to new priority measurements and products.

2.4 The roles of the private sector in GCOOS—a personal perspective

Finally, Nowlin gave a presentation on his views of the roles of the private sector in GCOOS.

3.0 Data Management and Communications Committee Working Session

The plenary session was followed by break-out sessions for each committee. This document constitutes the minutes of the Data Management and Communications Committee (DMAC). There are separate minutes for the Product and Services Committee (PSC) and the Observing Systems Committee (OSC). Interactions are planned with the Education and Outreach Council (EOC), which had met 24-25 April 2006.

Matt Howard, GCOOS Data Coordinator, made a presentation on DMAC that was given also at a SEACOOS meeting on data sharing and data quality for the southeast region. He then challenged the GCOOS DMAC members to come up with ways to advance DMAC in the Regional Associations without funding. The Committee discussed the need for a GCOOS web portal that pulls data into products for general use.

The The Committee agreed that the meeting goals were to:

  • Review Terms of Reference and Membership
  • Establish the Action Plan for Year 1 (May 2006 – April 2007)
  • Assign Working Sub Groups/Sub Committees
  • Develop Committees and Council Communications Plan
    • Share Action Plans
    • Monthly Reports
    • Email & Telephone
  • Elect Chair

3.1 DMAC Committee Terms of Reference

The DMAC Committee reviewed its Terms of Reference (Appendix C). The Committee recommends the following changes (additions in bold; deletions in strike-through):

“The DMAC Committee will oversee development of the data management and communications component of GCOOS and ensure its alignment with the IOOS DMAC Plan. The DMAC Committee will make recommendations to the Board on research or DMAC pilot projects that are needed to sustain and enhance IT infrastructure of the coastal ocean observing system and associated data use. The DMAC Committee also is responsible for recommending to the Board annual updates to the business plan for data management and communications activities. The DMAC Committee will be appointed by the GCOOS Board of Directors and the chair will be elected by the members of the Committee.”

3.2 DMAC Committee Plan of Action and Committee Structure

The Committee considered a strawman Action Plan. Bill Burnett asked that this action plan be prioritized. Following further discussion, the prioritized DMAC Committee Action Plan for May 2006 through April 2007 that was agreed on is:

  1. Revise DMAC parts of GCOOS Business Plan
  2. Implement National DMAC in the GCOOS-RA (create implementation plan)
  3. Establish data standards committee
  4. Consider/Recommend DMAC-related pilot projects
  5. Build a GCOOS data portal
  6. Demonstrate interoperability by pushing GCOOS data and model output from GCOOS providers to OPENIOOS
  7. Review the regional operations center concept
  8. Identify potential new DMAC committee members

It was agreed that the Committee should have smaller groups working on these action items. Volunteers were identified to lead/coordinate each action item. The Committee members agreed and made the following assignments:

#1 – All DMAC members contribute edits to Matt Howard and Susan Starke
#2 – All DMAC members contribute edits to Matt Howard and Susan Starke
#3 – Bill Burnett (lead), Scott Duff, Brenda Babin
#4 – Steve Beaudet, Ed Kearns
#5 – Vembu Subramanian, Brenda Babin, Scott Duff, Matt Howard
#6 – Vembu Subramanian, Ed Kearns, Matt Howard
#7 – Bill Burnett, Steve Beaudet, Susan Starke
#8 – Everyone feeding information to chair who reports

3.3 DMAC Committee Chair

To maintain continuity, the Committee decided that there be a past-chair to advise, a chair to lead, and a chair-elect to learn. Steve Beaudet was elected chair; he will serve one year as chair and one year as past-chair. Pending his acceptance, Ed Kearns was elected chair-elect to serve next year as chair and the following year as past-chair.

3.4 Pertinent Upcoming Meetings

The Committee considered its activities given that the GCOOS funding at present is primarily for meetings and workshops. The Committee considered whether its members should attend relevant meetings and share information. Matt identified some upcoming meetings where the DMAC message can be spread:

  • DMAC Steering Team (May 2006)
  • NOAA/CSC Inventories (June 2006) Jim Boyd is orchestrating this particular activity. This forum may be away to advance the notion of getting an inventory into a living document which we could search (e.g., MBARI initiatives Sensor ML and Sensor XML – also being addressed in ORION).
  • QARTOD QA/QC (21-23 June 2006 @ WHOI) Could be a sub working group to focus on something to advance the existing data streams.
  • Ocean.US DMAC RA-Caucus (before November 2006) Matt has $20K for face-to-face meeting.
  • OOSTECH (web Services? TBD) Phil Bogden organized previous OOSTECH.
  • NSF/MMI (metadata – TBD) Proposal currently in for funding. Matt is on proposal.
  • GCOOS-RA meetings
  • There is limited funding available through the GCOOS-RA to send folks to meetings. Contact Ann Jochens (ajochens@tamu.edu) for approval.

3.5 Recruiting, Training, and Retaining IT Staff

Retaining talented IT staff for Regional Associations is difficult because of the more lucrative job opportunities elsewhere, typically in industry. How do we address this issue? Intern programs should be used to bring them in. Contact high schools and college students for internships. Recruit students in computer science and geography to arrange class projects to help increase interest. SAIC, NDBC, NOAA will address this issue at future job fairs which they attend. Job openings, internship opportunities will be put on GCOOS web site; it will not be just GCOOS, but all regions. This committee will provide information to the Committee chair who will pass to Susan Martin for posting on the GCOOS web site.

Specific skill sets desired for DMAC IT staff include:

  • object-oriented programmers
  • GIS expertise
  • XML, SOAP
  • database management (SQL)
  • physical science background
  • problem solving ability

There exist courses or degree programs in ocean observations at University of South Florida, Texas A&M University, Rutgers, and University of Southern Mississippi among other universities.

IT staff levels at some of the relevant institutions were reviewed:

  • COMPS has two data management folks. One is a manager of offshore buoy data (who also does system administrative work); the other is Vembu who does all other types of data management. There are two post docs who maintain nowcast/forecast model.
  • LUMCON has two who do data management.
  • TABS has one to two.
  • TCOON has two.
  • Data management staffing at Shell is one.
  • NDBC has approximately 15.

3.6 Communication and Collaboration

Mechanisms to communicate among the committee members and other IT folks were considered. Wiki can be a good tool for editing if the group is active. The DMAC Committee plans to establish one for committee activities.

NOAA’s Community Information Repository may be a useful resource for the regional associations and their partners.

Susan Martin will check on dmac.gcoos.org as a domain name for DMAC information to be displayed rather than as a subpart of www.gcoos.org.


Appendix A: GCOOS Data Management and Communications Committee (DMAC) Meeting Attendees

26-27 April 2006
Ocean Springs, MS

Attendee Affiliation GCOOS Role Day 1 Day 2
Steve Beaudet Science Applications International Corp. DMAC Chair X X
Brenda Babin LUMCON Member X X
Bill Burnett NOAA NDBC Member X X
Scott Duff Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi Member X X
Matt Howard Texas A&M University Member X X
Robert Raye Shell International Exploration & Production Member X X
Erik Stabenau National Park Services Representing Ed Kearns X
Vembu Subramanian University of South Florida Member X X
Susan Martin Texas A&M University Reporter; GCOOS Office X X
Ray Toll Science Applications International Corp. Chair of GCOOS Board X
Attendees to the Plenary Session Only
Landry Bernard National Data Buoy Center, NOAA GCOOS Membership Committee X
Terry McPherson NASA GCOOS Membership Committee X

 


Appendix B: Provisional Agenda for GCOOS Data Management and Communications Committee Meeting

26-27 April 2006; Ocean Springs, MS

26 April 2006

0830 Coffee and Juice
Plenary Session with other GCOOS Committees
0900 Welcome, Introductions, Logistics (Ann Jochens, GCOOS Regional Coordinator)
0915 Introduction and Purpose of the Meetings (Ray Toll, Chair of GCOOS-RA Board)
0930 Introduction to the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS)–with a focus on the National Backbone
(Worth Nowlin, GCOOS-RA Board)
 
Questions and discussion
1000 Refreshment Break
1015 Overview of GCOOS (Jan van Smirren, GCOOS-RA Board)
 
Questions and discussion
1100 Synopsis of GCOOS workshops, results, and actions (Ann Jochens)
1130 Roles of Private Sector in GCOOS (Worth Nowlin)
1200 Catered Lunch
Data Management and Communication Committee Committee Sessions (Reporter: Susan Martin )
 
Interim chair, Steve Beaudet, presiding
1300 Presentation of Terms of Reference and Charges to Committee – This includes suggested tasks to be worked on by the Committee (Matt Howard)
 
Following discussion of the terms of reference given in the GCOOS-RA MoA, the following principal committee tasks will be suggested:

  • Provide advice to the Board and other GCOOS bodies regarding research or pilot projects that are needed to sustain and enhance data management in the coastal ocean observing system.
  • Suggest mechanisms for developing and maintaining effective linkages to NFRA, the IOOS DMAC, Ocean.US, and the various other related groups working on data management and communication issues in the development of the international, national, and regional coastal ocean observing systems.
  • Recommend to the Board annual updates to the business plan regadring data management and communication activities.
  • Suggest mechanisms for close communications between the Committee and the other two Committees and the two Councils.
  • Develop a plan for close communications within the Committee itself.
  • Recommend additions to or changes in membership.
  • Recommend a prioritized set of action items for the DMAC Committee, GCOOS Office, and GCOOS Board that will further the development of integrated, interoperable data systems for the GCOOS region.
1345 Introduction and discussion of background materials

  • Priorities for enhancements of the national backbone and for regional enhancements and additions, or other observing system priorities, as given in the first Business Plan–needs revision
  • Priorities for products from HABSOS, Oil and Gas Industry, and IOOS Human Health workshops
  • Pilot projects now under investigation by the Board
  • DMAC section from draft GCOOS Business Plan
1415 Election of Chair
1430 Discussion of and decisions regarding Committee’s foci and approach
1530 Refreshment break
1545 Continue meeting
 
Suggested topics for consideration at this meeting include:

  • Identify contacts for existing observing system elements and their responsibilities
  • Founded in an understanding that large new funding for DMAC is not on the way, identify regional resources available to advance DMAC concepts at the observing system level
  • Identify DMAC activities for sub-regional observing systems at this time (e.g., sensor-level inventory & catalog, web services, etc.)
  • Consider and recommend how to entrain and educate IT talent from sub-regional observing systems into the development process (by workshops, NOAA/CSC repositories, etc.)
  • Encourage, via the Board and other GCOOS bodies, every GCOOS observing system element to contribute observations and products to test beds such as Open.IOOS.
1730 Adjourn for day 1
1800 Icebreaker at Sharon Walker’s house

27 April 2006

0700 Breakfast of committee chairs and reporters to compare notes
0830 Coffee and juice
0900 Committee meeting continues
1030 Refreshment Break
1045 Conclusions from the meeting
  • Summary of recommendations to Board
  • Final agreement on method of operation
  • Suggestions of membership changes
  • Other
1230 Adjourn Meeting

 


Appendix C: Terms of Reference Data Management and Communications Committee

GCOOS Memorandum of Agreement Section VI.b.8

The DMAC Committee will oversee development of the data management and communications component of GCOOS and ensure its alignment with the IOOS DMAC Plan. The DMAC will make recommendations to the Board on research or pilot projects that are needed to sustain and enhance the coastal ocean observing system and associated data use. The DMAC also is responsible for recommending to the Board annual updates to the business plan for data management and communications activities. The DMAC Committee will be appointed by the GCOOS Board of Directors and the chair will be elected by the members of the Committee.