Eurofleets+ has adopted a data policy for making research data from Eurofleets+ cruises findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR). Marine data management is implemented in synergy with SeaDataNet, the pan-European infrastructure of NODCs.
Scientific cruise teams need to prepare a Data Management Plan (DMP) beforehand which is reviewed and refined by assigned NODCs. For its implementation, scientific cruise teams are obliged to keep an index of data and sample acquisition during the cruise. This is to provide assigned NODCs a detailed inventory of use for the later processing, archiving and publishing. It is also to facilitate generating the Cruise Summary Report (CSR), to be published soon after the cruise in the EVIOR CSR service.
To build such index of observation events during cruises, it is highly recommended that scientific teams make use of the Eurofleets Automatic Reporting System (EARS). This has been developed and further upgraded during the Eurofleets projects. Currently, use is made of EARS V2, and after summer 2021 EARS V3 will be taken into use. It needs to be installed and configured at the Research Vessels.
Once installed at a Research Vessel, the EARS system is instrumental for:
- gathering and storing automatically the en-route (underway) data of fixed instruments, such as navigation equipment, meteo sensor package, and salinometer,
- gathering metadata about the events concerning the human deployments of instruments and taking of samples. The event metadata has to be completed manually in EARS during the cruise by the PIs,
- generating automatically a Cruise Summary Report after the cruise,
- publishing underway information and data from the research vessels, while sailing, in near real-time of afterwards.
The latter is demonstrated by a Dashboard on the EVIOR portal which gives:
- dynamic charts of the momentary position of connected RVs with position, speed, and bearing
- earlier trajectories of connected RVs sailing with sailed tracks, details of positions, speeds and bearings, and option to re-run the tracks as animations
- graphics of underway data as measured by fixed instruments such as meteo packages and salinometer during sailing (for selected RVs)
- in the near future expansion with events information
The near real time transfer is depending on communication options available to the operators of the research vessels. There are multiple options, such as NRT satellite transmission, but also in delayed mode after the cruise ends.
The information exchange from EARS to the Dashboard is arranged by adoption and adaptation of the open-source SeaDataNet Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) toolkit and in synergy with the EMODnet Ingestion project. The SWE protocol has been upgraded to Internet of Things (IoT) in order to lower the threshold and follow new trends. Using the toolkit, a Data Hub for the underway metadata and data has been deployed at UTM-CSIC. Information from the Data Hub is shared through a SOS service and provides the input for the Dashboard. For each vessel a separate feeder has to be configured in cooperation between the RV operator and UTM-CSIC. The toolkit also allows RV operators to set up their own Data Hubs and SOS services, which might be interesting on the longer term.
The connecting of more Research Vessels is ongoing.