Over the years, the Ocean Best Practices System (OBPS) has benefited from sponsorship through government funded research projects. Responding to needs of the ocean community to support and broaden the use of ocean best practices and taking the  IODE OceanDataPractices as its base, the system has evolved into OBPS. This was made possible through support from the European Commission funds of ODIP (Ocean Data Interoperability Platform)  and AtlantOS: Optimising and Enhancing the Integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing Systems and the support of NSF (National Science Foundation) through the OceanObs Research Coordination Network. Plus, the OBPS Steering Group members were and are volunteers with substantial support from their home organizations. At the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Assembly in 2019, the OBPS became a joint IODE-GOOS  project under the IOC that supports the development of the system.   Additional support for the continuing evolution of the OBPS and its technology comes through participation in funded research grants. With the increasing recognition of the importance of best practices, three European H2020 projects have a focus on creation of best practices as well as facilitating access to these practices. Funds for advancing the development of the OBPS and a similar capability for the Arctic comes from these and other projects such as the NSF-sponsored OceanObs RCN. 

These projects are described below

  • EuroSea
  • Ocean Observation RCN

EuroSea is a European Union Horizon 2020 Innovation Action running from November 2019 to December 2023 (European Union H2020 Grant No. 862626).  It brings together key European actors of ocean observation and forecasting with key end users of ocean observations, responding to the G7 Future of the Seas and Oceans Flagship Initiative. EuroSea’s innovative demonstration activities are focused on operational services, ocean health and climate, where a dialogue between actors in the ocean observing systems will guide the development of the services.

The ocean is a fundamental part of the global life-support system and provider of a wealth of resources to humanity. Despite this paramount importance to society, there are fundamental gaps in ocean observing and forecasting systems, limiting our capacity to sustainably manage our activities in the ocean. Ocean observing is “big science” and cannot be solved by individual nations. EuroSea will support European integration for coordinated observations of the ocean that can be sustained in the long term.

EuroSea is addressing advances in  both observations and applications for the ocean and has the potential of  creating and providing a wide range of best practices to ocean stakeholders. This provision is done through the OBPS. The OBPS provides both engagement through workshops related to the EuroSea mission and also works with the EuroSea team in the documentation of best practices through identifying best practices within the project and providing metadata, vocabularies and document templates  including and IOC Manuals and Guides 84 on creating a best practice which can support submission of best practices and improving the tools for discovery of such practices. 

Project upcoming events of note :

JERICO-S3 (Joint European Research Infrastructure of Coastal Observatories for – Science – Service – Sustainability) is a European Union Horizon H2020 project focused on improving   observations and understanding of the European Coastal Seas. (European Union H2020 Grant No. 871153).  It  runs from February 2020 to 2024.  JERICO-S3 will provide state-of-the-art, fit-for-purpose and visionary observational Research Infrastructure, expertise and high-quality data on European coastal and shelf seas, supporting world-class research, high-impact innovation and a window of European excellence worldwide. It will be structured regionally around four Pilot Super Sites and five Integrated Regional Sites. Working with these sites, JERICO-S3 is targeting a more integrative approach to better observe the coastal ecosystems that will be relevant across Europe and beyond. JERICO-S3 is developing an e-infrastructure (i.e., VRE or Virtual Research Environment) in support of scientists and users by offering access to dedicated services. Major user-driven improvements will be realised in terms of observing the complexity of coastal seas and continuous observation of the biology, access to facilities, data and services, best practices and performance indicators, innovative monitoring strategies, cooperation with other European RIs.

With an emphasis on defining and using best practices in coastal observations and derived information for users, the OBPS makes important contributions to the project. This includes contributions to the e-infrastructure,  the definition of processes to optimize the creation and access to best practices and the expansion of data management guidelines. UNESCO/IOC also supports operations of the virtual e-infrastructure by  contributing virtual access to AquaDocs a new document repository, ODISCat an inventory of data and information sources and eventually a newly developed OceanInfoHub.   Outcomes of this work will expand the use of the OBPS repository and support increases in best practices available as well as increasing the use of other UNESCO/IOC information products  to the coastal research and applications communities. 

CAPARDUS (Capacity-building in Arctic Standardisation Development) is a Coordination and Support Action (CSA) project under European Union Horizon H2020 with focus on capacity-building to develop guidelines, standards and best practices related to exploitation of new technologies and utilization of data to support sustainable development in the Arctic. (European Union H2020 Grant No. 869673).  The capacity-building involves scientists, students, technology providers, economic actors, local communities, regulators and their organisations, who will participate in a series of workshops and research schools from 2020 to 2022. These events will be used as part of case studies in local communities in different regions, showing how the social-environmental systems are changing Arctic communities and what are the drivers for these changes. The climate change and its consequences in the Arctic leads to new requirements for planning and decision-making based on scientific and economic data, assessments and predictions. A prerequisite for good planning is access to data and information of relevance to the operators in the Arctic. The project will develop data management standards and best practices as a collaborative effort between scientists, local communities and other stakeholder groups, including economic actors who are interested in business development.Towards the end of the project, CAPARDUS will provide recommendations for sustainable economic development in the Arctic, to the benefit of both local communities and other operators.

In addition to the development of best practices through four use cases, CAPARDUS is also creating a pilot repository for Arctic practices of the indigenous people, industry and governance. This is called the Arctic Common Practices System (ACPS). It will be operated as an integral part of  the OBPS with a separate portal focused on Arctic interests. The overlap in the repositories is substantial as the Arctic oceans play a major role in the region’s  sustainability. The ACPS adds more engagement with industry and governance, initially within the constructs of the four use cases.

The Ocean Observation Research Coordination Network (RCN) seeks to advance links between observation networks, modeling and operational users to facilitate the delivery of critical information to stakeholders. The RCN is a forum for dialogue on regional and global ocean observing that, in the aggregate, constitute a global observing system. There are many facets to this objective as it can reflect new technologies, observations issues in areas such as biology/ecosystem assessments, or interdisciplinary collaborations. One focus over the last five years has been on interoperability across ocean observations and its products. It was recognized that this needed to be addressed systematically and in evolving phases. Best practices were identified as a key capability whose consolidation and ease of access could have a significant impact.  The RCN has sponsored both the evolution of the OBPS and forums needed for dialogue and convergence of observing methods. With the same motivation, the RCN is working with the research and applications community to continue the recommendations of OceanObs’19, looking to consolidate these into a vision for significant advances in the coming ten years.

The OceanObs Research Coordination Network (RCN) has supported the OBPS evolution and the workshops that have guided the development of the system in both its formation and its vision for the future.

INTEGRATED DigitaL Framework FOR Comprehensive MARITIME DATA AND INFORMATION SERVICES  Iliad aspires to be an interoperable, data-intensive, and cost-effective Digital Twin of the Ocean. It is an EU funded project, which builds on the assets resulting from two decades of investments in policies and infrastructures for the blue economy and aims at establishing an interoperable, data-intensive, and cost-effective Digital Twin of the Ocean. Iliad capitalises on the explosion of new data provided by many different Earth observation sources, advanced computing infrastructures (cloud computing, HPC, Internet of Things, Big Data, social networking, and more) in an inclusive, virtual/augmented, and engaging fashion to address all Earth data challenges. It will contribute towards a sustainable ocean economy as defined by the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Ocean, a hub for global, multi-stakeholder co-operation.The Iliad Digital Twin of the Ocean will fuse a large volume of diverse data, in a semantically rich and data agnostic approach to enable simultaneous communication with real world systems and models. Ontologies and a standard style-layered descriptor will facilitate semantic information and intuitive discovery of underlying information and knowledge to provide a seamless experience.

ADAPT: Adapting Ocean Best Practices to the local context   (Caribbean Pilot Project)

ADAPT will provide training, and support collaborative participatory development of guidelines on ocean observation and best practices, using the Caribbean as a pilot region. It is funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).  In order to create the basis for implementing local monitoring programmes and improve the application of adequate and up-to-date oceanographic methods and technologies, the project will promote in-person workshops covering basic topics in ocean observation through a case survey of a major need in capacity development according to a regional network of member states. The workshops will provide high-quality educational resources, which will foster the development of an online training course to be openly accessed and publicly available to a broader audience. These experiences will be documented and serve as a guideline to promote similar efforts in the future. The ultimate goal of the project is to promote the adoption and adaptation of ocean best practices and methodologies to regions of limited infrastructure to suit their capabilities and regional context in terms of monitoring and managing their marine territories, while maintaining, as much as possible, the interoperability of ocean observations.