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Toward an Integrated Environmental Information System in the Gulf of Maine

Philip Bogden

GoMOOS (The Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System), Portland, Maine

Our nation stands on the verge of creating a national system for observing and predicting the myriad events that impact America's vital coastal waters. This system will impact the use, stewardship and management of our coastal regions, and will allow us to protect them from a host of man-made and natural hazards. Such an integrated system does not exist today on a nationwide-scale, although elements of a national backbone exist within NOAA, EPA, and other federal agencies. And regional systems are being deployed by partnerships of research institutions throughout the nation. These systems look to Ocean.US for guidance on becoming part of a coordinated national system.

GoMOOS is one such regional partnership. GoMOOS meets multiple user needs with its own data acquisition and modeling capabilities, and a data management and communication (DMAC) system. But GoMOOS is not the only entity in the region with such capabilities. To integrate with the others, GoMOOS takes a business-to-business (B2B) approach to information exchange that is consistent with the Ocean.US DMAC plan, and similar to the approach being adopted by the EPA. For GoMOOS users, the goal is a distributed, dynamic, scalable and integrated information management system based on accepted protocols for information exchange. There is no single protocol. Rather, appropriate protocols depend on specific requirements. For entities that use Geographic Information Systems (GIS), such as the U.S.G.S., GoMOOS uses Open GIS Consortium (OGC) web services. For organizations that use relational databases, such as a NOAA/NMFS and state fisheries agencies, GoMOOS employs different services. With the National Data Buoy Center, GoMOOS uses yet another set of protocols. GoMOOS thereby integrates data from the various distributed data providers in the region.

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