Colour of Ocean Data:
a symposium on oceanographic data and information management with special attention to biological data

The Palais des Congrès, Brussels, Belgium
25-27 November 2002
The ‘Colour of Ocean Data’ symposium was organised from 25 to 27 November 2002, in the Palais des Congres in the centre of Brussels, by the Flanders Marine Institute, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the Office of Scientific, Technical and Cultural Affairs of the Belgian Government, and the Census of Marine Life.

The objective of the ‘Colour of Ocean’ symposium was to bring together different communities with an interest in marine sciences and information management - click here for a more elaborate document on the objectives of the symposium. Along one divide, participants from the physical oceanographic data management were invited, as were the marine biology data managers. Along a second divide, marine/oceanographic data managers were confronted with the user communities, mainly scientists and policy makers. Nearly 200 participants were registered; there were 44 oral presentations, 40 poster presentations and eight demonstrations.

In a series of five sessions, various aspects of data management were discussed. The main aim was to allow the different communities to learn about developments on related fields, and to learn from each others’ experiences. For each session of oral presentations, there was a corresponding session with poster presentations and demos. The wide variety of topics that were discussed was indicative of the breadth of the field; the ensuing discussions clearly demonstrated the timeliness of the symposium.

The two last hours of the symposium were devoted to a short panel discussion. Two representatives each of international organisations, of the data management community and of the scientific community were given the opportunity to expand on their views on oceanographic data management, their views on the role of data centres, and expectations from user communities; check here for a description of the objectives of the panel discussion, the organisation and panel members. The conclusions from this panel discussion will be included in the proceedings to the symposium, and are also reproduced here. One of the main conclusions was that symposiums like this one were needed to strengthen the communication between different communities involved with marine/oceanographic data management. Some very practical suggestions were made. One recommendation was to make data sets citeable, so that scientists’ motivation to submit data would be increased. A very strong recommendation was made to investigate how data management can be included in the curricula of universities.

Proceedings of the symposium will be produced as an IOC publication; the review process for the contributions will be initiated shortly. A book of abstracts has been produced; contact VLIZ to get a copy, or download a pdf version. Copies of all powerpoint presentations of oral presentations, and of most posters, will be made availbable through this web site.

Organising institutions

Members of the scientific committee

Members of the organising committee