April 17, 2018 - OBISOBIS2.0 Infrastructure

IOC invests in OBIS2.0, a major re-engineering of the OBIS platform

In recent years, OBIS developed a RESTful Application Programming Interface (API) to help drive the new portal interface and an R package for analytical use, which is proven to be attractive to users and now drives multiple third-party applications. However, the system for harvesting new data was experiencing major delays due to ageing and out of date processes and software infrastructure. The process of quarterly data loads through a process that involves a fair bit of manual labor in addition to long processing times to rebuild database indexes and other aspects of the system was problematic in getting new data online and meeting user expectations - from both data providers and data consumers. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO has recognized the critical need to upgrade of the OBIS platform and is currently supporting the OBIS2.0 re-engineering project with US$170,000 through extra-budgetary funding sources. The release of OBIS2.0 is expected around the end of 2018.

We need a modern and scalable OBIS system to support IOC's activities in marine biological and ecological ocean observation and science, as well as capacity development and technology transfer.
- Mr Peter Pissierssens, Head of IOC/IODE and IOC Capacity Development

The new OBIS infrastructure and technology stack will achieve the following high-level objectives:

  1. Near real-time data integration from OBIS Nodes - as soon as OBIS Nodes advertise the availability of new or updated data, the OBIS system begins automated processing to ingest data and completes integration routines in a timely manner.
  2. The ability to scale the system to hundreds or thousands of new datasets and millions of new records while providing timely results for queries, data access (download and streaming), and products (analytics and indexes).
  3. The ability to integrate environmental variables in addition to biological observations and to fully leverage this new type of data in queries, data access, and products.
  4. Improve on the real-time analytics capability of OBIS to directly inform biodiversity indices, essential ocean variables and biodiversity indicators, starting at the API level to support science end-users (e.g., via R/Python packages) and custom apps/portals along with a flexible and ever evolving set of reports through the OBIS portal.
  5. Improve the full visibility of the OBIS Network by persistently linking OBIS Nodes, data provider institutions, and individual contributors (data providers, authors, etc.) together such that each entity is cited and their full contribution to OBIS easily accessible.

A new cutting edge OBIS infrastructure and technology stack will lead to increased quality and coverage of ocean biodiversity data and information required to address our collective ocean environmental and economic challenges.
- Dr Sky Bristol, OBIS Co-Chair, USGS/OBIS-USA