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Continuing the NOEF Discussion: Implications for Ocean GIS

10-29-2017 11:11 PM
Esri Regular Contributor

On October 21-22, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and NOAA held the 5th Annual National Ocean Exploration Forum (NOEF), "Ocean Exploration in a Sea of Data," at UC-San Diego's Qualcomm Institute (Computer Science and Engineering). This invitation-only forum brought together the data science and ocean exploration communities to discuss how data science analysis and visualization techniques can be applied to contemporary and historical ocean exploration data. Participants considered how relevant data, whether from satellites, ships, autonomous ocean sensors, or deep ocean cores, can be integrated, analyzed, and visualized in order to understand the ocean in new ways. There are natural many ties here to ocean GIS and to our own Esri Ocean GIS Forum.

In a plenary panel during the Forum, Dr. Vicki Ferrini of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory expressed how "integrating data across temporal/spatial scales and integrating modern data with legacy data is indeed a fundamental challenge. But in this challenge is a fundamental opportunity.  Most importantly, an ability to work with data across time and space (in all meanings of the words) creates the potential not only for making new and unexpected discoveries, but to do science and engage the data in a completely different way.  Along the way, we demonstrate the value of data management and preservation efforts.  We’re at a watershed moment where challenges, opportunities, and solutions may not be completely understood, but at least seem tractable.  That may not be the case five or ten years from now.  The ocean exploration community clearly needs a closer relationship with the data science, and visualization communities, and the sooner the better."

Some important discussion topics that came up and shared here for YOUR consideration as well:

  • Best strategies for integrating/visualizing spatially sparse data? Temporally sparse data?
  • How can we confidently extrapolate data - to compensate for gaps in observations/measurements?
  • Techniques for using sparse data to predict/model with better accuracy?
  • Are there techniques for meaningful integration of data even when veracity (data quality) is highly variable?
  • Related lessons learned
  • Opportunities for cross-domain sharing of tools and techniques?
    • What venues or approaches will help fuse relationships between data scientists/visualization experts and ocean explorers?

The Esri Ocean GIS Forum can have a say too! Please use the REPLY button below to respond to any of these topics. I will pass them on the NOEF organizers for possible inclusion in their report! Need help logging into GeoNet?

Ultimately the 2017 NOEF will result in recommendations for how data scientists and ocean explorers can collaborate to expand traditional concepts of ocean exploration to drive toward new discoveries, greater access to contemporary and historical data, and better engagement of the public. These will also extend the recommendations from the past 4 forums (attached).

Dawn Wright (she/her/hers), Ph.D. & GISP | Esri Chief Scientist
3 Replies
New Contributor

Dawn, thank you for this summary as I was unable to attend the conference.  Data extrapolation is important in the work I do as I have much that comes from Citizen Scientists.  With that, accuracy is also a key consideration with that.  Do you have any particular resources that you can point me to that gives best practices for using that type of data from the public?  I do have some but and always looking for more, thank you.

New Contributor

Bridging that gap between the ocean exploration community respecting data science, and visualization communities, does represent a way to make sure we're moving in the same direction as that puck. The ocean is resilient, despite human induced influence. The more advanced our technology becomes, the more we will be able to continue moving forward with standardized, robust, and practical global ecosystems classification and mapping GIS tools for our planet. We are a dynamic, but ever growing and advancing civilization.


New Contributor

Thanks again for this great summary of the proceedings.  The questions you pose are good ones, and difficult ones to answer.  As technology gets better, we'll be able to make better analyses and have access to more data- but we need to be mindful of the gap between scientists and public that this will produce.  I think that however much we want to use as much data as possible, we need to always be wary of small sample sizes, sparse data, and the problems they might pose.  Thanks again- very thought provoking and important questions.