The MARACOOS Ocean Observing Asset Map

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The Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System brings scientists and their data together to provide incredible information on the ocean. Within MARACOOS, Scientists from universities, regional and national government agencies work together to share their data. One of the challenges of these systems is to integrate the disparate data that comes from satellites, gliders, HF-radar, buoys, drifters, and models. The MARACOOS data providers and data management team have worked together to provide a single web Ocean Asset Map or “portal” so users can view all of the data in the region.

Data Layers

The data layers are divided into 3 groups:

  1. Point Observations
  2. Spatial Observations
  3. Models

1) Point observation data are available from:

  • NOAA National Data Buoy Center (NDBC)
  • NOAA Center for Operational Oceanographic Products (CO-OPS)
  • Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System (HRECOS)
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources (water quality)
  • National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS)
  • USGS water quality and flow data
  • NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (drifters)
  • MARACOOS (gliders)
  • Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System (MADIS)

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2) Spatial observation data are available from:

  • High Frequency Radar (below) is available from MARACOOS using OpenDAP and WMS for data access. This data provides a near real-time view of surface currents for the region based on a network of shore-based radar stations.

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  • Satellite-derived water temperature information is available from MARACOOS in near real-time, with various daily average composites available.

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3) Model Data are available from:

  • Short term predictive system (STPS) models currents derived from HF Radar (MARACOOS)
  • New York Harbor Observing and Prediction System (NYHOPS) - High resolution hydrodynamic model results for New York harbor and surrounding area (MARACOOS)

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  • Mid Atlantic ocean forecasts using the ROMS model (MARACOOS)

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  • The Harvard Ocean Prediction System (HOPS) covering the Gulf Stream ring and meander region (MARACOOS).

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  • In addition to MARACOOS models, data from federally operated models such as the U.S Navy’s Coastal Ocean Model (NCOM) shown below, NOAA’s North Atlantic HYCOM model, and NOAA’s Wave Watch III model are available.

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  • Federally operated meteorological models such as NOAA’s North American Mesoscale Model (NAM)

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The data management approach underlying the Asset Map includes:

  • Where possible, the data is served and integrated using open, interoperable data standards recommended by the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS)
  • Where possible, the data providers manage, host and serve their own data and the Asset Map integrates data “on the fly” from this distributed network of data servers
  • The Asset Map provides preview capabilities so users can see recent, present, and future conditions (from forecast models) in a single map and view time series data at discrete points. Scientists or other “power users” are provided links to the data servers so they can download data for further analysis with tools such as Matlab and ArcGIS.
  • The system takes advantage of a combination of OpenSource technologies and standards
  • The system uses cloud computing for data storage and delivery
  • The system leverages the power of the federal data centers to access data using open standards
  • The system is extensible to add new data sources from other data providers


The MARACOOS Asset Map has become a central repository of an enormous amount of ocean information, available to the science community, fishermen and recreational boaters, maritime operations, and the general public. The framework uses distributed data which has some issues; some data services are more robust and faster than others, but allow scientists to collaborate and share data using open standards.

We recognize that as the system delivers more data, it will become more difficult for a user to sort through the data to find the information they need. To address this, the MARACOOS team is working on hybrid versions, including mobile applications that address users and specific communities. In May, MARACOOS will launch the “Fisherman Ocean Portal”, a site focused on meeting the needs of the fishing community with data such as bottom temperature and collaboration tools so users can share information by adding data to the web site.