Appendix C:
NOAA Data, Information, and Products

Guidance for Developing Principles and Guidelines for NOAA Data Archive and Access11

NOAA archives and provides access to a wide variety of data and products. These activities are based upon numerous legislative mandates. A few of many examples include:

  1. 1 The National Climate Program Act of 1978 (15 USC CH29 PL 95-357) which calls for “… management & active dissemination of climatological data …”

  2. 2 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Public Law 94-265) which states that “The collection of reliable data is essential to the effective conservation, management, and scientific understanding of the fishery resources of the United States.”

NOAA must continue to archive and provide access to all data as required by law. This is a fundamental principle that NOAA will strictly adhere to, so this NRC study can be of most value to NOAA by focusing on the scientific and societal value of NOAA’s data and not the legislative mandates.

NOAA’s data, information, and products have previously been grouped into seven broad categories.12 Five of the seven categories are relevant to archived data and this NRC study. They appear bold text in the following list: 1) Original Data; 2) Synthesized Products; 3) Interpreted Products; 4) Hydrometeorological, Hazardous Chemical Spill, and Space Weather Warnings, Forecasts, and Advisories; 5) Natural Resource Plans; 6) Experimental Products; and 7) Corporate and General Information. These seven categories are described in more detail below.

Original Data are data in their most basic useful form. These are data from individual times and locations that have not been summarized or processed to higher levels of analysis. While these data are often derived from other direct measurements (e.g. spectral signatures from a chemical analyzer, electronic signals from current meters), they represent properties of the environment. These data can be disseminated in both real time and retrospectively. Examples of original data include buoy data, survey data (e.g., living marine resource and hydrographic surveys), biological and chemical properties, weather observations, and satellite data.

Synthesized Products are those that have been developed through analysis of original data. This includes analysis through statistical methods; model interpolations, extrapolations, and simulations; and combinations of multiple sets of original data. While some scientific evaluation and judgment is needed, the methods of analysis are well documented and relatively routine. Examples of synthesized products include summaries of fisheries landings statistics, weather

11  

Submitted by NOAA-NESDIS to the NRC Committee on Archiving and Accessing Environmental and Geospatial Data at NOAA

12  

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Information Quality Guidelines, 2002: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories/iq.htm



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Preliminary Principles and Guidelines for Archiving Environmental and Geospatial Data at NOAA: Interim Report Appendix C: NOAA Data, Information, and Products Guidance for Developing Principles and Guidelines for NOAA Data Archive and Access11 NOAA archives and provides access to a wide variety of data and products. These activities are based upon numerous legislative mandates. A few of many examples include: 1 The National Climate Program Act of 1978 (15 USC CH29 PL 95-357) which calls for “… management & active dissemination of climatological data …” 2 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Public Law 94-265) which states that “The collection of reliable data is essential to the effective conservation, management, and scientific understanding of the fishery resources of the United States.” NOAA must continue to archive and provide access to all data as required by law. This is a fundamental principle that NOAA will strictly adhere to, so this NRC study can be of most value to NOAA by focusing on the scientific and societal value of NOAA’s data and not the legislative mandates. NOAA’s data, information, and products have previously been grouped into seven broad categories.12 Five of the seven categories are relevant to archived data and this NRC study. They appear bold text in the following list: 1) Original Data; 2) Synthesized Products; 3) Interpreted Products; 4) Hydrometeorological, Hazardous Chemical Spill, and Space Weather Warnings, Forecasts, and Advisories; 5) Natural Resource Plans; 6) Experimental Products; and 7) Corporate and General Information. These seven categories are described in more detail below. Original Data are data in their most basic useful form. These are data from individual times and locations that have not been summarized or processed to higher levels of analysis. While these data are often derived from other direct measurements (e.g. spectral signatures from a chemical analyzer, electronic signals from current meters), they represent properties of the environment. These data can be disseminated in both real time and retrospectively. Examples of original data include buoy data, survey data (e.g., living marine resource and hydrographic surveys), biological and chemical properties, weather observations, and satellite data. Synthesized Products are those that have been developed through analysis of original data. This includes analysis through statistical methods; model interpolations, extrapolations, and simulations; and combinations of multiple sets of original data. While some scientific evaluation and judgment is needed, the methods of analysis are well documented and relatively routine. Examples of synthesized products include summaries of fisheries landings statistics, weather 11   Submitted by NOAA-NESDIS to the NRC Committee on Archiving and Accessing Environmental and Geospatial Data at NOAA 12   National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Information Quality Guidelines, 2002: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories/iq.htm

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Preliminary Principles and Guidelines for Archiving Environmental and Geospatial Data at NOAA: Interim Report statistics, model outputs, data display through Geographical Information System techniques, and satellite-derived maps. Interpreted Products are those that have been developed through interpretation of original data and synthesized products. In many cases, this information incorporates additional contextual and/or normative data, standards, or information that puts original data and synthesized products into larger spatial, temporal, or issue-oriented contexts. This information is derived through scientific interpretation, evaluation, and judgment. Examples of interpreted products include journal articles, scientific papers, technical reports, and production of and contributions to integrated assessments, n.b., this does not include the data and products used to make these interpretations. These data are not applicable to the NRC study. Hydrometeorological, Hazardous Chemical Spill, and Space Weather Warnings, Forecasts, and Advisories are time-critical interpretations of original data and synthesized products, prepared under tight time constraints and covering relatively short, discrete time periods. As such, these warnings, forecasts, and advisories represent the best possible information in given circumstances. They are derived through scientific interpretation, evaluation, and judgment. Some products in this category, such as weather forecasts, are routinely prepared. Other products, such as tornado warnings, hazardous chemical spill trajectories, and solar flare alerts, are of an urgent nature and are prepared for unique circumstances. Natural Resource Plans are information products that are prescribed by law and have content, structure, and public review processes (where applicable) that are based upon published standards (e.g., statutory or regulatory guidelines which are not applicable to the NRC study). These plans are a composite of several types of information (e.g.,, scientific, management, stakeholder input, policy) from a variety of internal and external sources. Examples of Natural Resource Plans include fishery, protected resource, and sanctuary management plans and regulations, and natural resource restoration plans. Experimental Products are products that are experimental (in the sense that their quality has not yet been fully determined) in nature, or are products that are based in part on experimental capabilities or algorithms. Experimental products fall into two classes. They are either 1) disseminated for experimental use, evaluation or feedback, or 2) used in cases where, in the view of qualified scientists who are operating in an urgent situation in which the timely flow of vital information is crucial to human health, safety, or the environment, the danger to human health, safety, or the environment will be lessened if every tool available is used. Examples of experimental products include imagery or data from non-NOAA sources, algorithms currently being tested and evaluated, experimental climate forecasts, and satellite imagery processed with developmental algorithms for urgent needs (e.g., wildfire detection). Corporate or general information includes all non-scientific, non-financial, non-statistical information. Examples include program and organizational descriptions, brochures, pamphlets, education and outreach materials, newsletters, and other general descriptions of NOAA operations and capabilities. These data are not applicable to the NRC study.

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