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British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) . An Introduction Louise Darroch. What is BODC?. National facility concerned with looking after and distributing marine data. BODC deal with biological , chemical , physical and geological data

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british oceanographic data centre bodc

British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC)

An Introduction

Louise Darroch

what is bodc
What is BODC?

National facility concerned with looking after and distributing marine data

BODC deal with biological, chemical, physical and geological data

Our staff include a wide range of research scientists and IT specialists

Non-profit organisation (value added products are for others to do)

importance of data management
Importance of data management

Data are precious!

  • BODC are dedicated to ensuring data are fully quality controlled, documented and stored for its current and future use
  • Particularly important for long-term climate studies
roles and responsibilities national
Roles and responsibilities - National
  • National Tide Gauge Network
    • Remote monitoring, data retrieval, processing and quality control
  • NERC Marine data centre
    • One of six designated NERC data centres
  • UK Project data management
    • ‘End-to-end’ approach
  • Marine Environmental Data and Information Network (MEDIN)
    • Hosts MEDIN core team to improve access and stewardship of marine data with 30 partners
roles and responsibilities international
Roles and responsibilities – International
  • GEBCO Bathymetric Chart of the Ocean (GEBCO)
    • Operates under IOC/IHO
    • Host digital atlas monitor
  • Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS)
    • Conducted under JCOMM
    • Maintain GLOSS station handbook
  • International Argo
    • UK floats and Southern Ocean array
    • Near-real time and delayed-mode quality control processing
international responsibilities ioc ices
International responsibilities: IOC & ICES
  • IODE facilitates and promotes the exchange of marine information and data through a network of IOC designated data centres
  • BODC is one of over 60 National Oceanographic Data Centres
  • Member/chair of expert teams or steering groups
  • Promotes marine research in the North Atlantic
  • BODC part of data and information management working group
international seadatanet
International: SeaDataNet
  • European infrastructure for ocean and marine data management
  • Network of existing marine data centres from 35 countries
  • SeaDataNet aims to provide online integrated database of data centres
  • BODC is the UK partner
data processing overview
Data processing - overview
  • BODC comprises two databases
  • Both are based on the Oracle Relational Database Management System (RDBMS)


(archive original files and documents)

Process and load data into



Process and load data into



Distribute data

s tandardised data format
Standardised data format
  • Series data arrive in various formats which are transferred into our standard format, QXF.
  • QXF is a binary format and is a sub-set of NetCDF
  • NetCDF is a platform-independent exchange format
  • NetCDF can be easily transformed to other formats (eg. ODV)
  • QXF does not hold metadata
  • BODC delivers detailed metadata (eg. detailed methods) in XML format
parameter codes
Parameter codes
  • BODC parameter codes are assigned to each data channel
  • BODC parameter codes are made up of sets of controlled vocabularies from the NERC DataGrid (NDG) Vocabulary Server. (
  • Using standardised terms and units solves the problem of ambiguity and enables records to be interpreted by computers
quality control
Quality control
  • Visualisation by in-house software EDSERPLO
  • EDSERLPO is versatile and can handle many data types
    • Profiles (CTD)
    • Time series (moorings)
    • 1D/2D wave spectra
    • ADCP
    • Tidal data
  • Anomalous data points marked (data values are not changed or removed)
  • EDSERPLO software available from BODC
        • Telephone: 0151 795 4884Email:
  • Metadata (data about data) stored in Oracle relational database tables (RDBMS)
  • Export format: Extensible Markup Language (XML)
  • XML enables the addition of more detailed information (eg. methods, data policies, data quality reports)
  • Detailed information enables long-term storage of data without referral to originator
  • Storage in relational database form enables data delivery in different formats (eg. ODV)
quality checking and audit
Quality checking and audit
  • Automated Matlab software checks the integrity of data files and metadata
  • Data and metadata audited (second-checked) by peers
providing access to data and metadata

Little point in data management unless the data and metadata are used

103,000 requests 2010/2011

Telephone: +44 151 795 4884Email:

Providing access to data and metadata
  • Personal requests
  • Online data inventories & catalogues
  • Online data delivery systems
  • BODC Web Services (eg. NERC vocab server)
  • Download interface software (eg. GEBCO)
  • Near-real time data via sub-webs
i nventories and catalogues examples
Inventories and catalogues examples
  • GLOSS station handbook (
    • The Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS) is coordinated by Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)
    • 'Global Core Network' of 287 stations around the world
  • International current meters (
    • IOC framework inventory comprises over 32,000 records relating to current meter deployments by more than 140 organisations in 22 countries
  • Cruise inventory (
    • Assembled using the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Cruise Summary Report (CSR) forms
    • Contains entries for 10201 cruises from 618 individual ships.
online data delivery

Users now expect to search for, view & receive data via the internet

User-defined search system with a GIS interface

~81,000 series

Several delivery formats: NetCDF, ASCII and Ocean Data View (ODV)

Plot search results in geospatial applications such as Google Earth

Rapidly moving to deliver all data this way (eg. Samples data)

Online data delivery
current and future developments
Current and future developments

Data delivery

Moving towards delivering sample data online, in addition to series data

  • Near-real time data management
    • Near-real time and delayed-mode data management of:
    • UK and International Argo (ARGO)
    • Seal-tags (SMRU)
    • Sea surface hydrography and meteorology (BODC/NMF-SS/NOC)
    • UK Gliders (BODC/MARS)
nrt data management international argo
NRT data management – International ARGO
  • ARGO consists of 3,000 float array
  • Inexpensive
  • BODC data assembly centre (DAC) for UK floats and Southern Ocean array
  • BODC provides:
    • real-time (via GTS)
    • near real-time (via GDAC, ~24 h)
    • delayed-mode, quality controlled data (via DAC)
nrt data management sea surface hydrography and meteorology
NRT data management – Sea surface hydrography and meteorology


Oceanography Centre

National Marine Facilities Sea Systems

British Oceanographic

Data Centre

  • Automated meteorological and sea surface hydrography system
  • High spatial and temporal coverage
  • BODC will be the Data Assembly centre (DAC) and provide:
    • Near-real time data
    • Delayed-mode, quality-controlled data to SAMOS standard
    • Data quality feedback to ship
  • Technology extended to other data types (eg. CTD, ADCP)


  • Data assembly centre (DAC)
  • (near-real time, delayed-mode data)

Data quality feedback while at sea

Dissemination(eg. BODC/SAMOS/NODC)