The Ocean InfoHub 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 Ocean Data and Information System (ODIS) architecture provides the interoperability layer and supporting technology to allow existing and emerging ocean data and information systems, from any stakeholder, to interoperate with one another. This enables and accelerates more effective development and dissemination of digital technology and sharing of ocean data, information, and knowledge. As such, ODIS is not a new portal or centralised system, but provides a collaborative solution to interlink distributed systems for common goals. Together with global project partners and partners in the three regions, a process of co-design has enabled a number of global and regional nodes to test the proof of concept for the ODIS. The ODIS Catalogue of Sources (ODISCat) is a closely related and linked initiative, which is an annotated catalogue of online resources serving ocean-related data and information products, currently containing over 3000 records.
The OIH Project has first worked with IOC-associated online resources – including OceanExpert, Aquadocs, the Ocean Best Practices System (OBPS), the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS), and the World Ocean Database (WOD) – extended by partnerships with EurOcean, Marinetraining.eu, EMODNET, and other sources in the IOC ODIS Catalogue of Sources (ODIScat).
The project aims to benefit marine and coastal stakeholders around the globe, but its initial focus has been on responding to requests for data products and services from three regions: Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Pacific Small Island Developing States, to meet their unique user community (thematic and language) requirements. OIH has focused on developing communities of practice for the three pilot regions, as well as to formalize partnerships with other UN agencies and key international partners. Through these actions, OIH is enabling a digital ecosystem where users, from any entry point, can discover content and services that they require, while also having opportunities to become content creators themselves.
Based on feedback from the three pilot regions, the initial thematic focus of OIH has been on (i) Experts and institutions/organizations, (ii) Documents, (iii) Spatial data and maps, (iv) Research vessels, (v) Education and training opportunities, (vi) Projects.
Matchmaking services will be an additional function of the OIH, particularly in support of the IOC Capacity Development strategy. Services will allow study and training or vessel survey opportunities to be identified, a peer-to-peer service would support scientific collaboration, and an automated/self-serve service would allow the search for specific human or institutional expertise. The project will also focus on the transfer of local knowledge, on supporting early career scientists, and on remedying gender disparity by increasing access to information, technologies and opportunities, in line with the IOC’s Capacity Development strategy.
Ultimately, the OIH intends to meet the knowledge needs of national and regional requirements for sourcing marine data and information, as well as to assist countries in their reporting requirements for the Sustainable Development Goals (particularly goals 4,9, 14 and 17), contribute to key aims of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework for disaster Risk Reduction and Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction. The OIH will also assist IOC member states to report on ocean science capacities through the Global Ocean Science Report (GOSR). The Ocean InfoHub Project will therefore provide an opportunity for partners and users to contribute to, and access the UN Ocean Decade global data ecosystem.
The OIH Project has five work packages:
- WP1: Project management and coordination
- WP2: Technology development
- WP3: Establishment and initial support of the global hub and regional nodes
- WP4: Training and capacity development of the nodes
- WP5: Communication, user marketing and feedback
Beneficiaries of the Project will include:
- Scientists (academic and private sector)
- Government agencies/policy makers
- IOC global and regional programmes
- IODE National Oceanographic Data Centres (NODCs), IODE Associate Data Units (ADUs) and IODE Associate Information Units (AIUs)
- UN agencies, International Governmental Organizations (IGOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
- Industrial and commercial enterprises
These user groups are also those who provide content to the Ocean InfoHub system. This will enhance the self-driven nature of the system and thus ensure its sustainability beyond the lifespan of the project. Furthermore, the distributed approach will allow further expansion of the “partner network” with new content providers as well as users, thereby further enriching the content ecosystem.