Data Management

Data Management in OCS

The Office of Coast Survey (OCS) generates products from a wide range of data and is responsible for ensuring sound data management principles across the various product pipelines. OCS is committed to sharing data openly while ensuring that data is governed by a strict set of standards and requirements. Information on Hydrographic Survey and Charting Standards can be found at International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).

In order to effectively manage data across OCS, the Information Technology Services Branch (ITSB) has built a data infrastructure with emphasis on security and scalability of data operations throughout the organization. This includes robust storage and dissemination architectures both on-premise and in the cloud.

In accordance with the NOAA Data Strategy, OCS has developed guidance for data licensing, to standardize data handling from external sources and to ensure all users can freely access OCS public domain data. A data license is machine-readable, making downstream applications and distribution automated and more scalable, while also improving communication to end users. The OCS National Bathymetric Source accommodates data licenses and was built to fully realize the associated benefits.

The application of an open data license onto OCS public domain data removes any ambiguity with regards to copyright and intellectual property, clearly aligning OCS with the Evidence Act, and unlocking the full value of OCS data to all users.

NOAA and OCS have also committed to aligning data management efforts with the FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship. Below is an outline of the FAIR Guiding Principles:

  • Findable - Ensuring data is easily searchable across multiple platforms by providing accurate and up to data metadata for both humans and machines.
  • Accessibile - Providing documentation to ensure users have a full understanding of data accessed.
  • Interoperable - Creating data and products that allow users to integrate with other data or systems.
  • Reusable - The ultimate goal of FAIR is to optimize the reuse of data. To achieve this, metadata and data should be well-described so that they can be replicated and/or combined in different settings.

In addition to adhering to sound data management principles, OCS must comply with the following Federal Legislation and NOAA Directives related to data sharing and management:

An essential part of data management and being a data centric organization is understanding and documenting data sources as they flow through the data pipeline. Below is a breakdown of the source data workflow as it moves through the various offices in Coast Survey. All source data goes through Quality Assurance and Control at various offices as it makes its way to multiple publicly accessible products.