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Quality Assurance of Real Time Oceanographic Data (QARTOD) IV Support

June 21 - 23, 2006.

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Project Background
QARTOD is a continuing multi-agency effort formed to address the quality assurance and quality control issues of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) community. The first workshop was held at the NOAA NDBC office in Bay St. Louis, MS in the winter of 2003. Over 80 participants attended with the primary task to develop minimum standards for calibration, QA/QC methods and metadata. The workshop resulted in a report which summarized the recommendations on these issues and on future workshops. QARTOD II (second workshop) was held February 28-March 2, 2005 in Norfolk, VA, and focused on QA/QC issues in HF radar measurements and wave and current measurements’ unique calibration and metadata requirements. QARTOD III was held on November 2-4, 2005 at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA. It continued the work on waves and current measurements, as well as commencing work on CTD measurements and HF Radar. QARTOD IV was held at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, June 21 - 23, 2006. Related materials, including the QARTOD IV final report, are posted on the QARTOD website:

The QARTOD IV workshop addressed the challenges related to the collection, distribution and description of real-time ocean data. One of the primary challenges facing the oceanographic community will be the fast and accurate assessment of the quality of the data streaming from the IOOS partner systems. Operational data aggregation and assembly from distributed data sources will be essential to the ability to adequately describe and predict the physical, chemical and biological state of the coastal ocean. These activities demand a trustworthy and consistent quality description for every observation distributed as part of IOOS. The intent of QARTOD IV was to report on the recommended quality descriptions for parameters such as waves and currents and to develop guides to best practices to assure data quality.

The workshop focused participants into the following areas of interest: waves, in situ currents, CTD measurements and dissolved oxygen. The waves and currents groups reported on results from previous workshops on testing data quality and defining flags for real-time release of data. Efforts began at QARTOD IV to define best practices and shared resources for promoting quality assurance. The CTD group was reorganized and the dissolved oxygen group was newly formed. Metadata experts from the Oceans.US/DMAC guided each group towards the development of minimum standards in metadata within their particular area of focus.

A host of guest speakers presented other existing efforts promoting the development of national and international standards for QA/QC in real-time oceanographic data.

The workshop was funded by NOAA with support from Oceans.US and the WHOI CICOR office. Facilitators from NOAA NOS Special Projects Office provided support in organizing workshop materials and reporting the proceedings within each break out group.

With support from a pending RCOOS award (2008-2010) from the NOAA Coastal Services Center administered through the CICOR office, the results of the QARTOD IV workshop will be integrated into the developing standards of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Sensor Observations Service (SOS) framework. The QA/QC standards and services will be demonstrated by integration with the OOSTETHYS project ( The tools, vocabularies and guides will be made publicly available through the Marine Metadata Initiative web site (

Last updated: August 27, 2012

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