The Ocean InfoHub (OIH) facilitates access to global oceans information, data and knowledge products for management and sustainable development. The OIH links and anchors a growing network of regional and thematic nodes that will improve online access to, and synthesis of existing global, regional and national data, information and knowledge resources, including existing clearinghouse mechanisms. The project is not establishing a new database, but will be supporting discovery and interoperability of existing information systems through the development of a lightweight Ocean Data and Information System (ODIS) architecture. This enables users from Member States and other partners to discover data, data products, data services, information products and services. The OIH Project is a three-year project funded by the Government of Flanders, Kingdom of Belgium, and implemented by the IODE Project Office of the IOC/UNESCO.
The OIH Project commenced in April 2020. Three regional communities of practice (Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Pacific Small Island Developing States) were established with coordinators and technical representatives on the overall OIH Technical Working Group. These three regional groups have developed considerably over the past year, with new regional partners, and will continue to expand and evolve, feeding end-user needs into the ODIS-architecture development process. With additional co-funding during 2022, three more nodes will be supported, in partnership with National Oceanographic Data Centres in Africa and Asia. A pilot portal will also be established for Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction.
An expert technical working group has been convened, now with over 90 technical experts from partner projects and pilot regions, with technical working platforms on Slack (over 4100 posts) and Github. The development of the ODIS-architecture is underway by two subcontractors, guided by a detailed Terms of Reference based on the consensus achieved by technical advisors. The documentation for the ODIS-architecture is openly available online here.
29 Pilot partner organisations are working with the project to demonstrate proof-of-concept of the ODIS architecture, and nine of these are now ODIS-architecture compliant and can be discovered through the ODIS network. A back-end search demonstration site is used for testing and a Global front end OIH search portal is currently in development (to be completed in July 2022). During 2021 alone, the project held or participated in 186 internal and outward-facing meetings and webinars across the working groups. A number of news articles have been written, many presentations were given, and project team members have been invited to participate in panel discussions.