What are our objectives?
The FMDC wants to be an open and service-minded centre where data and information from a wide range of marine sciences are archived and made easily accessible!
In this context we pay special attention to:
- Data exchange in Belgium and abroad
- International standards
- Technological innovation
- Integration in international networks
- Capacity building
While all aspects of the traditional role of a data centre remain important:
- Archiving: data are often gathered in the framework of short-running projects, or thesisses. There is a need for long-term activity, namely the protection of the physical integrity of data sets. This could best take place in a data centre, which harbours the necessary expertise and manpower to guarantee this integrity, for a long-term.
- Documenting: as soon as data has to be available to more than one person, a description on how the data must be read and interpreted is needed. It also makes ‘data discovery’ possible: when data are stored in meta-databases, it becomes possible to search what data has been collected, where and by whom, and under what modalities the data can be made available.
- Integrating different datasets: many individual data sets contain short-term data, over a limited geographical area and often treating a restricted subject. Integrating these data sets allows us to carry out large analyses.
- Quality control: extra checks are possible when data from different sources are combined. These controls will considerably improve the quality of the data sets.
- Redistribution: through the data centre, the data can be made available for other scientists and the public. This ought to be in agreement with the researcher who collected the data.
What are our activities?
In the first place, the FMDC manages scientific data and information for Flemish marine researchers and administrations. This management covers the archiving, documenting, checking and distribution of physico-chemical, taxonomic, biogeographic, ecological, chemical and toxicological data.
The VLIZ is a scientific institute but does not conduct research itself. This means that the VLIZ does not generate new data, except for the 'underway data' collected by the R/V 'Zeeleeuw' and the data from monitoring campaigns of the VLIZ itself. The FMDC gives an added value to existing data by integrating them into larger datasets and by means of extra quality control.
The FMDC is a service centre for data suppliers and data users. The centre provides the expertise and logistic support for the development of data and information systems, the archiving of datasets and the communication of projects (e.g. developing and hosting websites).
The FMDC is the 'National Oceanographic Data Centre’ (NODC) for Flanders and is responsible for the management of Flemish marine scientific data and information within the international network of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO.
Partially through the association with the IODE Office project, the FMDC is the tool for capacity building (regional, national and international) and technological innovation.
The FMDC takes care of the coordination and information activities of the VLIZ itself by supporting the IMIS expert database, the multimedia library, the monitoring programme and 'underway data' from the R/V 'Zeeleeuw', the VLIZ website ...