Data Tracking and Quality Assurance

The data tracking effort of the GOOS Center has grown from monitoring of a few dozen SEAS equipped vessels transmitting via GOES satellites to monitoring an expanding suite of in-situ ocean observing platforms composed of all VOS, TAO/PIRATA and TRITON equatorial buoys, drifting buoys, and profiling float (PALACE) data. There are over 6,000 platforms transmitting data via three, soon to be four, satellite systems as well as other conventional modes of transmission into the GOOS database. The challenge in tracking these observations, as opposed to tidal data for example, are that arrival and volume are not easily predicted. To effectively track observations the user must be familiar with World Meteorological Organization (WMO) code forms, Global Telecommunications System (GTS) characteristics, and GTS bulletin header concepts. However there are only two absolutely essential skills to successfully tracking observations. The first is the ability to recognize patterns in the data, the second is an understanding of how the collection and transmission systems operate. All observations currently monitored fall into five data formats. These formats are known as WMO Code Forms to the GTS community. The chart below shows the five code forms currently loaded into the GOOS database. Other code forms will be added as the database evolves.

Figure 1. Data Flow Diagram depicting path of data from observation platform through quality control to archival.

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