Ocean Science Interoperability Experiment II


The Oceans Science Interoperability Experiment will consolidate a portion of the Ocean-Observing community on its understanding of various OGC specifications, solidify demonstrations for Ocean Science application areas, harden software implementations, and produce a candidate OGC Best Practices document that can be used to inform the broader ocean-observing community. To achieve these goals, the Oceans IE will engage the OGC membership to assure that any community recommendations coming from the Oceans group will properly leverage the OGC specifications. Potentially, Change Requests on OGC Specification will be provided to the OGC Technical Committee to influence the underlying specifications. It is not anticipated that this IE will develop any new specifications.

Initiator Organizations

The OGC members that are acting as initiators of the Interoperability Experiment are:

  • Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA)
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Texas A&M University – Academy for Advanced Telecommunications (TAMU)
  • National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
  • The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)
  • Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System (GoMOOS)


The two phase Oceans Science Interoperability Experiment (Oceans IE)  brings together the  Ocean-Observing community to advance interoperability of ocean observing systems by using Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Standards. The Oceans IE Phase I investigated the use of OGC Web Feature Services (WFS) and OGC Sensor Observation Services (SOS) for representing and exchanging point data records from fixed in-situ marine platforms. The Oceans IE phase I produced an engineering best practices report about how to implement SOS serviced and the OOSTethys reference implementations were adjusted to follow these best practices.

Oceans IE Phase II builds on Phase I and continues the improvement and use of OGC standards in the oceans and marine scirence community. The kickoff date for Oceans IE Phase II was  March 20th 2009. Phase II completed November 2009. The team briefed the OGC Membership at the December 2009 Technical Committee meetings. A report summarizing the findings in Phase II will be published in early 2010. The primary objectives for Phase II were: Work on and end-to-end prototype from the capturing of data from devices to the usage of these data for advance research and improve decision support systems and to bring together organizations with SOS experience and international ocean observing systems.


The Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) hosted a workshop in Baltimore October 2005 called OOS Tech 2005 (note: OOS = Ocean Observing System). The workshop included approximately 100 ocean scientists, data mangers and computer science experts from around the country. They learned and talked about “Web Services for Interoperable Ocean Science.” After the workshop, a subset of the group agreed to work together on a follow-on activity to implement some of what they had learned. The agreed to build from their previous experiences using OGC WMS and WFS specifications. In previous years, they had built some basic elements of a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) demo at www.openioos.org. The OOS Tech 2005 follow-on activity began with 5 loosely defined goals: (1) Develop an end-to-end demonstration of web services increasing the interoperability of various regional real-time, ocean-observing programs, (2) Gain experience with data exchange using SOAP with different tools on multiple platforms and implementations (3) leverage previous experiences with WMS and WFS, (4) leverage the Marine Metadata Interoperability demo focused on semantic interoperability using RDF-based ontologies, (5) leverage results of a NOAA Coastal Services Center salinity workshop in September 2005.

The small OOS Tech follow-on team formed their own “service-definition” team and began developing some simple SOAP interface definitions that leveraged various other OGC specifications, including GML, Observations & Measurements and SensorML. Since then the group has gain momentum and a project OOSTethtys got establish in 2006. OOSTethys members decided that working with standards organizations to pick the best standards, exercise them and advance them to bring observation system together, was the logical path to move forward. OOSTethys members started an OGC Ocean Science Interoperability Experiment (Oceans IE) in 2007.

The Oceans IE Phase I ended in May 2008, when the report was submitted. The Oceans IE Phase I investigated the use of OGC Web Feature Services (WFS) and OGC Sensor Observation Services (SOS) for representing and exchanging point data records from fixed in-situ marine platforms. The Oceans IE Phase I produced an engineering best practices report and reference implementations for using OGC Sensor Observation Service.

Plan details here: http://oostethys.org/oceansie2