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Gulf of Mexico Integrated Database Workshop Held in St. Petersburg, FL

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Gary Brewer at the lectern
Gary Brewer discusses offshore challenges while members of the steering committee look on.
The USGS Gulf of Mexico Integrated Database Workshop is a combined inventory and planning effort for the gulf region. The Gulf of Mexico Joint Planning Team organized and conducted the workshop, held at the Bayfront Center Complex in St. Petersburg, FL, on December 4 and 5. The workshop had two main objectives:

  1. To conduct an inventory of all information that the USGS has developed for the gulf region, including satellite and land-use data, as well as data from research projects, cooperative-research-unit projects, and water-resources investigations and monitoring.

  2. To identify and promote a methodology to provide these data to the scientific community via Internet access and in coordination with the "Gateway to the Earth" concept, which involves creating interlinked access among all USGS Web sites via a robust search engine that indexes detailed metadata tags. The focus will be on three classes of users: professionals (who want detailed data), citizens interested in outdoor recreation (who want quick and easy access to specific products), and science-attentive citizens (who want science explained in understandable terms) with age ranges from children to senior citizens.

Products generated from the two objectives will be a catalog of USGS data holdings for the gulf region and a report on the workshop's findings and recommendations for a methodology.

The steering committee consisted of Heather Henkel, Heather Mounts, and Rob Wertz (Center for Coastal and Regional Marine Studies (CCRMS), St. Petersburg, FL), Jeff Eidenshink (EROS Data Center, Sioux Falls, SD), Tim Boozer (Water Resources (WRD), Ocala, FL), Helena Schaefer (National Wetlands Research Center, Lafayette, LA), and Jayne May (WRD, Austin, TX). Tracy Enright and Kathy Pegram (CCRMS) helped with registration and with compiling workshop handouts.

Participants included 39 attendees from the USGS. The steering committee specifically selected participants to represent a cross section of database professionals (administrators, distributors, and so on) and scientists (data generators and users) from the four main USGS disciplines (water, geology, mapping, and biology).

Other agencies represented were the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Florida Marine Research Institute (FMRI), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Biological Information Infrastructure/Houston Advanced Research Center (NBII/HARC).

The USGS administers the NBII Program through the USGS Biological Informatics Office (BIO) and the USGS Center for Biological Informatics (CBI). The USGS funds many NBII activities and makes accessible its biological data sets, such as the North American Breeding Bird Survey, through the NBII. The Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) is a partner with NBII.

Representatives of these agencies were invited to attend because of their active roles in the gulf region. To date, 209 data sets for the gulf region have been collected and placed into an Excel database, providing name, area description, point of contact, and USGS office/discipline involved. The data catalog will soon be available upon request from the workshop's Web site. Information on other data sets will be added over time as data sets are developed.

The workshop was divided into five major components:

  1. management perspective
  2. technology assessment
  3. standardization
  4. case studies
  5. discussion groups

The first four components consisted of 24 presentations to provide participants with an overview of ongoing programs and activities currently associated with the USGS and its partners. Topics ranged from "Gateway to the Earth" concepts to "Deep-Water Study Areas in the Gulf of Mexico." Steering committee members Tim Boozer and Jeff Eidenshink gave talks. Speakers from the Coastal and Marine Geology Program included Trent Faust, Greg Ferrara, Heather Mounts, Lisa Robbins, Rob Wertz, and Kim Yates (CCRMS), Fausto Marincioni and Kathy Scanlon (Woods Hole Field Center), Lynn Wingard (Reston, VA), and Jane Reid (Santa Cruz, CA). Other presenters included Tom Armstrong (Science Coordinator for the USGS Eastern Region Regional Director), Virginia Burkett (National Wetlands Research Center, Lafayette, LA), Gary Brewer (Biological Resources (BRD), Reston, VA), Bob Pierce (WRD, Atlanta, GA), Jim Flaherty (USGS, Rolla, MO), Ken Lanfear (WRD, Reston, VA), Jennifer Gains (BRD, NBII), and Roy Sonenshein (USGS South Florida Information Access (SOFIA), Miami, FL). The fifth component consisted of breakout sessions that were held on the second day.

Following the workshop, the steering committee met at the USGS Center for Coastal and Regional Marine Studies (CCRMS) in St. Petersburg, FL, on December 6. After assimilating notes taken at the breakout sessions, the committee developed a draft recommendation for a data-management system for the gulf region. Over the next month, the committee will continue to refine and further develop the recommendation. The committee will also compile, evaluate, and take into consideration all responses from the exit survey e-mailed to workshop participants on December 11.

Related Web Sites
Gulf of Mexico Integrated Database Workshop
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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Gulf of Mexico Integrated Database Workshop

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Updated December 02, 2016 @ 12:09 PM (THF)