Our Vision: Open Access on a Macroscale

Last updated on Tue, 2010-09-21 20:23. Originally submitted by amanda on 2010-08-17 11:42.

OBIS is an evolving strategic alliance of people and organizations sharing a vision to make marine biogeographic data, from all over the world, freely available over the World Wide Web. OBIS is tailored towards global awareness of our oceans and global contribution to knowledge about our oceans. Thus, it is extremely important that OBIS maintains its status as an ‘open-access’ database. OBIS plans to make all tools on the website available for everyone to use: the database exclusively uses open source software, so all of the programming code is available to the public.

Open accessibility creates a database which...

  • allows nations to meet their obligations to the Convention on Biodiversity to report on the biodiversity in their exclusive economic zones.
  • offers researchers and surveyors and other collectors of data the convenience of a permanent repository for spatially referenced data on all forms of marine life.
  • offers seekers of data about marine biodiversity a site where they can find information about species from A to Z for all parts of the world oceans.

OBIS is not a project or program, and is not limited to data from Census of Marine Life-related projects. Any organization, consortium, project or individual may contribute to OBIS. And any person who visits the OBIS site can expect access to:

  • taxonomically and geographically resolved data on marine life and the ocean environment;
  • interoperability with similar databases;
  • software tools for data exploration and analysis.

Working on a macroscale, OBIS hopes to fill the gaps in our knowledge about the oceans. From broad maps, one can see clearly that much more data is available from coastal areas than from open waters; more from surface areas than from the deep sea; more on vertebrates and other large animals than on smaller invertebrates; more from the northern hemisphere than from the southern. As an open-access database, OBIS hopes to fill these gaps in our knowledge with datasets from every corner of the world, from any provider (individual, institution, or otherwise) who cares to upload to the server and contribute to the global maps OBIS seeks to fill out.

OBIS is a project of:
IOC-UNESCO
IODE Sponsored by:
Martin International and Les Grands Explorateurs
With in-kind support from:
Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, Duke University
Universidad Simón Bolívar Flanders Marine Institute

OBIS strives to document the ocean's diversity, distribution and abundance of life. Created by the Census of Marine Life, OBIS is now part of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, under its International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) programme.