Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Shore Side Data System
MBARI Project Report

SSDS - Shore-side data system - 2003

Project Title: Shore Side Data System
Project Leads: Kevin Gomes, John Ryan
Project Manager: John Graybeal
Project Team: Andrew Chase, Mike McCann, Brian Schlining, Rich Schramm

MBARI operates many oceanographic assets that produce all types of data streams and data sets. Shortly, ocean observatories will likewise produce a steady stream of data from an evolving list of data sources. Data users want to access all this data, and have emphasized the need for consistent, well-described, public access to observatory data.

The MOOS Shore Side Data System (SSDS) is designed to meet these needs. It takes advantage of the descriptive metadata provided by MOOS, as well as other data sources. (MOOS engineers are designing data management into their observatory infrastructure, so that the necessary metadata is automatically provided to the data system and scientistsÕ system development work is minimized.) Such descriptive metadata enables the most powerful features of SSDS, making the same application usable on a very wide range of data.

This year the Shore Side Data System hosted data from the MOOS Test Mooring and the AUV CTD operation, as well as importing existing data from the past 14 years of OASIS operation. The software is designed for rapid iterative improvementsÑits second major iteration was completed in Fall 2003 and a third is planned in early 2004, with many features added along the way. Due to its flexibility and scalability, the system can meet data management needs for many oceanographic research projects or organizations, and several non-MOOS projects are considering adopting it.

In December 2003, the IAG team demonstrated the SSDS software for MOOS users, particularly CIMT scientists. While simultaneously accessing oceanographic data from the two OASIS moorings and a nearby AUV CTD mission, the team demonstrated the ease with which users could access and plot data from both continuous data streams and individual data files. Because of the systemÕs flexible design, new instruments, platforms, and data sets can be easily supported given the proper descriptive metadata. While many technical tasks remain, the demonstration fostered good user feedback that helped confirm the technical direction of SSDS to date.

In coming years, the most critical data management need will be for computationally useful metadata descriptions. Existing metadata standards (such as FGDC) fall far short of whatÕs required. To create the needed definitions, national and international specialists must take a coordinated approach. Therefore, in October SSDS developers helped organize a Metadata Management Workshop with 50 participants. From this workshop sprang the Marine Metadata Initiative (, a consortium that is well positioned to develop key semantic metadata content.

Last updated: Feb. 06, 2009