Publication of Data from National Research Vessels - EIF023

RV Southern Surveyor
RV Aurora Australis

Project Overview

The National Research Vessels data publication project (EIF023) is funded by Australian National Data Service (ANDS). It is primarily aimed at automating the real-time publication of data from Research Vessel Southern Surveyor (RV SS) and Research Vessel Aurora Australis (RV AA) through the AODN and into the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC).

Both ships are blue-water national research facilities and are funded by the Australian Government. RV SS is operated by CSIRO and RV AA is operated by the Australian Antarctic Division. These two vessels are key elements of Australian marine research infrastructure and data that is collected by the vessels is widely used by the Australian ocean and atmospheric science communities.

Data streams include meteorological, oceanographic, geometric and positional data that is transmitted via satellite from waters within the Australian Antarctic Territory, sub-Antarctic islands and the surrounding Southern Ocean , as well as from within Australia’s marine coastal areas.

Data, including ship tracks from both vessels can be viewed online using the AODN Portal ( The online tool allows the user to select currently underway voyages, or any previously undertaken voyage from AAD or the Marine National Facility where data is online and available. Full datasets are also available via this portal.

Aims and Objectives

The AODN was established as a means for Australian Government agencies to collaborate on and publicly share Australian marine and coastal datasets.

RV SS and RV AA are sophisticated data collection platforms capable of acquiring data from the sea surface, the water column and the sea-bed, as well as from the immediate atmosphere.

The project provided an opportunity for the organisations involved to review and vastly improve their marine data management processes that are cognisant of viable, modern data acquisition, management and dissemination systems. Over a period of twelve months, data capture and management systems were audited and improved. Controlled vocabularies were established, web services instantiated and software designed and implemented to manage data transfer, loading and dissemination. Database optimisations were carried out to ensure the reliable delivery of data, metadata procedures and guidelines were established, and a large amount of historical underway data dating back to the year 1985 was loaded and made available through the system.

Project Documentation

  • Discussion paper on the application of quality control processes and flags to ship-based observations and measurements. This paper is intended to foster discussion in the marine science community about creating a common quality framework.
  • Implementation guide that sets out some technicalities of choices made by the project and the software that was used. This should be of use to other projects working towards publishing interoperable data.


Anyone seeking further information about the project and its implementation should contact:


Kim Finney - Australian Antarctic Division (kim.finney(at)

Paul Tildesley - CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research (paul.tildesley(at)


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