Recent Metadata News

X-DOMES EarthCube Grant includes funding for ORR

The 2-year NSF collaborative proposal titled “EarthCube IA: Collaborative Proposal: Cross-Domain Observational Metadata Environmental Sensing Network (X-DOMES)” has been funded by NSF's EarthCube project. The researchers in this project are researching new and evolving methods to observe properties and to process the collected observations. This is a pilot project seeking to target large-NSF funded data programs and associated sensor manufacturers to implement proven technologies in the capture of sensor metadata.  MBARI's Carlos Rueda is participating in the project to provide support for, and changes to, the MMI Ontology Registry and Repository.

ESIP Federation Funds ORR Grant

The ESIP Federation has awarded MMI's John Graybeal a grant to deploy the MMI Ontology Registry and Repository, ORR, as an ESIP testbed application. The grant was awarded this summer, and the work is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

The new ORR instance will be deployed on ESIP's AWS cloud, and will be called the ESIP Community Ontology Repository. It provides a new resource for the Earth science community, and is not expected to move or duplicate any of the existing ORR semantic assets.

Marine Metadata project transitions from Google Code

Today, Google reported that they are cancelling the Google Code project hosting repository. This brings no worries for MMI; we recently migrated from Google Code to our GitHub repository, thanks to our sharp Technical Lead. And Google put some effort into fixing a bug we reported, so we can still access our old repositories on Google Code if needed.

Given the news, this seems like a good opportunity to consider what makes sites last in the Internet era. Every now and then we at MMI hear someone say "the MMI project is ending." This is always surprising (and vexing) for us to hear, as MMI remains the largest collection of metadata resources in the earth science community, with active operational support by TAMU-Corpus Christi, technical and project leadership, and members of its international Steering Committee. What lets MMI remain active and respected, despite periods of limited funding, while projects like Google Code are retired? 


MMI's ORR Ontology Repository Chosen for ODM2 Project

ODM2 (Observations Data Model Version 2.0) is an information model for spatially discrete, feature-based earth observations. It is integrative, extensible, and aimed at data interoperability, particularly across sensor and sample-based observations. ODM2 has been designed from a general perspective, with extensibility for achieving interoperability across multiple disciplines and systems that support publication of earth observations.

The Marine Metadata Interoperability project (MMI) announced today that the ODM2 project has selected MMI's Ontology Registry and Repository (MMI ORR) as its host for web-accessible controlled vocabularies during its initial deployment phase.

Marine Metadata Web Site Now Hosted by TAMU-CC/Harte Research Institute

Migration of MMI web completed

The MMI Web Site, where you are reading this, has transitioned to its new home at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC), in the Harte Research Institute.

MMI Ontology Registry and Repository Site Transition

Migration of completed on schedule

The MMI Ontology Registry and Repository (ORR) has transitioned to its new home at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC). On Friday September 6, Technical Lead Carlos Rueda worked with Felimon Gayanilo (Systems Architect, Harte Research Institute) and Phil Hale (Systems Administrator) of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi to re-host the site.

MMI Plans: Spring 2013

The MMI Steering Committee met Friday, April 5 to discuss some near term and long term plans. From site relocation, to project incorporation, to more technical activities, read more to learn the latest.

Site Security News

The MMI site recently saw an uptick in odd HTTP access patterns. We have had some intrusions in the past, so we considered the possibility of another break-in to be significant.

Since the site is mostly providing information, rather than two-way communications, we chose to take the site offline to allow the Operations team at UCSD to investigate. They completed their investigation promptly, and happily did not find any indication of ongoing malicious activity.

MMI Paper on Semantic Mediation

Architectural OverviewThis paper serves as a basic introduction to semantic tools and mediation, an overview of MMI's semantic framework and tools, and a great citation for the MMI ORR work that has been funded by NSF and supported by MMI's staff and many volunteers.


Revised NSF Ocean Sciences Data and Sample Policy Released

The Division of Ocean Sciences released a new Data and Sample Policy on May 24, 2011.
This document describes the requirements for contributing data and samples to national data centers. In general, it requires that primary data collected under NSF/OCE funded projects be submitted to the appropriate data center within 2 years of collection.

Geospatial Platform: Modernization Roadmap

Geospatial Platform logo

The U.S. Department of the Interior and Federal Geographic Data Committee have collaborated on the release of Version 3.0 of "Modernization Roadmap for the Geospatial Platform." Released in August 2010, this document outlines a place-based approach for managing all geospatial data in the United States.

A particularly interesting element of this release is the wiki designed to discuss the platform, The wiki supports open conversation on the nature and key features of the geospatial platform, and has attracted a number of sophisticated ideas and comments about the role of standards, tools, and other elements toward making a common, effective approach to geospatial data.

Biodiversity Knowledge Organization Systems

The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) has commissioned a white paper to advise it on its future directions for Knowledge Organization Systems (KOS), a rubric that includes the creation, use, and management of such resources as controlled vocabularies, thesauri, gazetteers, and ontologies. Before a final draft is produced, GBIF invites an initial public review of the first draft. The draft may be found at and the mechanism for commenting at which is a page on the GBIF Community Site.

FDGC Officially Endorses External Standards

The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Steering Committee has officially endorsed 64 standards authored externally to the federal agency.

Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard released for public review

The FGDC Coastal and Marine Spatial Data Subcommittee, chaired by the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), developed the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS), and is currently inviting the public sector, those involved in coastal and marine ecology and management, to review and comment on a draft of this standard. Through a common terminology, CMECS provides the vocabulary needed to term ecological and habitat units. The standard also provides the marine community with "a uniform protocol for identifying, characterizing and naming ecological units in support of monitoring, protection, and restoration of unique biotic assemblages, protected species, critical habitat, and important ecosystem components."

OGC and Smart Ocean Sensor Consortium (SOSC) to collaborate

On August 25, the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) and the Smart Ocean Sensor Consortium (SOSC) announced in a press release that they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to advance sensor observing systems for the oceans community. The two organizations will explore "joint outreach and marketing activities to raise awareness and interest in smart sensor systems and Sensor Web Enablement". Their first collaboration will focus on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute's (MBARI) PUCK protocol for hydrographic sensor configuration. The PUCK protocol specification has been submitted to the OGC as a candidate standard.

Launch of GBIF Community Site

In August, the Global Biodiversity Initiative Facility (GBIF) Secretariat launched the GBIF Community Site, a free social networking site to enhance communication among researchers, data publishers and users, and everyone interested in Biodiversity Informatics. All are welcome to join and "share information about events, open calls, product releases, [and] collaboration opportunities in biodiversity data." There are also a number of collaboration tools available in the site: work groups, (micro)blogs, community news, online chat, file and image sharing, to name a few. For more information, visit:

New Web Coastal Atlas Book Available

Several members of the MMI community have contributed to chapters in the new book Coastal Informatics: Web Atlas Design and Implementation, author(s)/editor(s): Dawn Wright (Oregon State University, USA); Ned Dwyer (University College Cork, Ireland); Valerie Cummins (University College Cork, Ireland), 2010. The book "reviews and presents the latest developments in the emerging field of coastal web atlases through a series of case studies." It also discusses "making underlying geographic databases interoperable." The Coastal Atlas Interoperability chapter (pp 53-79), co-authored by Karen Stocks and Anthony Isenor from the Guides Team as well as others, was formed in part from information in the MMI Guides that are available on our site.

CIESIN Questionnaire on Geospatial Data Preservation Needs

CIESIN LogoGeospatial data that represent observations at a specific time and place often cannot be replicated, and explicitly preserving them helps ensure their availability for future users. In an effort to improve geospatial data preservation research and practice, researchers at the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at Columbia University are developing an online clearinghouse to disseminate information on the preservation of geospatial data. They have put together a brief questionnaire that takes ten to fifteen minues to complete, and will help them address issues relating to this topic.

RPI Researchers Use Semantic Technology in Project

A team of three Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) researchers has shown the power of the semantic web by developing 40 applications that use datasets from different sources, all available to the public through was launched a year ago and has grown from just 47 datasets to over 270,000 (as of May 2010). In June 2009, the RPI team saw as a perfect opportunity to "use RDF (Resource Description Framework) and linked data" to explore government data in innovative ways. The RPI Project has demonstrated "how quickly and inexpensively visualization and mash-up applications can be built from government data when it’s put into a web-friendly form." Read the full article at Government Computer News (5/18/2010).

NSF to require data management plans

NSFIn October 2010, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will require scientists to complete data management plans, submitted as two-page supplementary documents, with all new proposals for NSF funding. This change to data sharing illustrates the importance of publicly funded research that is available to the public and accessible to broad scientific communities. "Science is becoming data-intensive and collaborative," noted Ed Seidel, acting assistant director for NSF's Mathematical and Physical Sciences directorate.

Complete details in the NSF Press Release 10-077 from May 10, 2010.

NEPTUNE Canada Provides "Terabytes of Data" from Seafloor

NEPTUNENEPTUNE Canada (North-East Pacific Time-Series Undersea Networked Experiments) is featured in NatureNews this month, "Undersea Project Delivers Data Flood" (20 April 2010). The NEPTUNE Project, with 800 km of cable connecting a suite of oceanographic instruments on the seafloor, will eventually receive an estimated "60 terabytes per year" of data. NEPTUNE scientists and data managers are "looking for innovative ways of crunching through the data" by making  information available to the public via the internet and collaborating with the international oceanographic community. Image
Copyright © 2010 NEPTUNE Canada

OGC announces Earth Observation Profile for Web-based Catalogue Services

From March 5, 2010 OGC Press Release:

The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC®) announces adoption and availability of the OGC Catalogue Services Standard Extension Package for ebRIM Application Profile: Earth Observation Products, and also the related Geography Markup Language (GML) Application Schema for EO Products. Together, these standards, when implemented, will enable more efficient data publishing and discovery for a wide range of stakeholders who provide and use data generated by satellite-borne and aerial radar, optical and atmospheric sensors. The OASIS standard ebRIM (Electronic business Registry Information Model) is the preferred cataloguing metamodel foundation for application profiles of the OpenGIS Catalogue Service Web (CS-W) Standard.

SANY - an open service architecture for sensor networks

SANY published a new book entitled SANY: an open service architecture for sensor networks to investigate "where current trends in technology and society are taking us and how these trends impact our life by helping to build an increasing awareness of environmental issues." The book is available free as a PDF document from their publication release site:

Participate in the DataONE Survey

The Data Observation Network for Earth (DataOne), supported by U.S. National Science Foundation, is inviting all scientists to participate in an on-line data assessment survey. The 23-question survey takes only 5-10 minutes to complete. Our "responses will help [them] better understand how scientists manage their data and will contribute to building better tools and processes for data preservation." For more information about the survey and to participate, visit For more information about the DataONE foundation and their mission, visit About DataONE.