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3.2 WOD Metadata
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3.2 Managing/Repatriating Area-Specific Marine Metadata from the World Ocean Database

  • Exercise Title:  Managing/Repatriating Area-Specific Marine Metadata from the World Ocean Database

  • Abstract:  The international collection of marine datasets, collectively named the World Ocean Database (WOD), has been mined for station data to be used in the various exercises presented here.  This exercise examines the related metadata information available from the WOD, identifying the ships and institutions who gathered that original data, and other useful source information.

  • Preliminary Reading (in OceanTeacher, unless otherwise indicated):

  • Required Software:

    • N/A

  • Other Resources: 

  • Author:  Murray Brown

  • Version:  August 2010

1.  Open the WODSelect interface.  This is NOT the interface to select the data...this is the interface to select the way the global data will be queried (i.e. selected).


2.  WODSelect has created a query based on geography and dataset type.

In the geography section, enter coordinates for the Liberia area; there is no need for an extra "margin" of 1 degree.

In the dataset section, check only OCEAN STATION DATA (OSD). 

NOTE:  Experience with these data has shown that the entire historical record of OSD can be easily downloaded in one operation.  This is not true for the other major data types, which will be downloaded later.


3.  This inventory appears, indicating that about 12,000 stations are available.

NOTE:  The related Data Exercise investigates the DISTRIBUTION PLOT and DOWNLOAD controls, but we will ignore then here.


4.  This extensive set of data fields is presented, identifying all the CRUISES included in the Liberia extraction:
  • CRUISE REFERENCE - The main access code; the first two characters are country codes, and the last 6 codes are unique cruise identifiers you will see also in the ODV collections
  • INSTITUTE - See below
  • PLATFORM - See below
  • #CASTS - Number of stations or casts at multi-purpose stations
  • ACCESSION# - Management item for the WOD; often includes multiple cruises
  • START/END DATES - Time limits
  • ORIG CRUISE ID - Usually an ID assigned by the originators of the data; very few provided
5.  Scroll down through the list, and you will find the PLATFORM CODE LIST.  These refer to the ships ("platforms") used for the cruises, and you'll need them to decipher the metadata above.
6.  Scroll further down through the list, and you will find the INSTITUTE CODE LIST.  These refer to the institutions or agencies that performed the cruises, and you'll need them to decipher the metadata above.
7.  In the first row of the table, click on the CRUISE REFERENCE number SU014378.  This will open a small "cruise report" that shows a map of the cruise, and other detailed information.   It concludes with a complete list of stations/casts, and an indication of the variables measured.
8.  On your browser, block and COPY the entire report page.  Then open a new HTML page in an HTML editor, with the filename cruise_info_liberia_wodselect_osd_20140712.htm, and PASTE this material onto it.  You cannot simply use FILE > SAVE AS because this looses the links.
  • Use this file anytime to open quickly (using the links in it) to specific cruise information, when you have any questions about the source
  • Paste this HTML text into a page in your own website, with appropriate credit given to the WOD and their publishers the Ocean Climate Lab of the US National Oceanographic Data Center