Frequently Asked Questions

Following are some Frequently Asked Questions, we hope to add to this list as we hear from you.

Why is Ocean.data.gov a prototype?

This is the initial effort to make data and information needed to support ocean and coastal planning easily accessible and publicly available.  We have launched this prototype portal to engage coastal and ocean planners, decision-makers, and other users in the development of this portal and ensure we are building it with the most useful information and to meet the needs of the users.

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How can I use this resource?

Ocean.data.gov is a resource to assist ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes planners find and access data and information provided by the Federal government.  You can search the community for data most relevant to coastal and marine spatial planning and download the data for your own purposes.  You can also find data from regional portals. Join the community and let us know what else you would like ocean.data.gov to provide.

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Who decides what data are included?

Data provided through ocean.data.gov are reviewed by a team of Federal scientists, information technology specialists, and resource managers.  The team verifies that the data meets data quality standards, is accessible through the web, and is valuable and appropriate for coastal and marine spatial planning. The team was selected by and reports to the National Ocean Council. While the team works to accommodate all requests, the requested datasets must meet Federal privacy, national security, and information quality policy requirements.

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Can we provide feedback about a particular dataset?

Yes, each dataset has a metadata page where you can rate the data.  This information will be used to improve the data and how we make it available.

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Does Ocean.data.gov contain any data?

Ocean.data.gov does not hold data, but rather provides a simple and easy way to find and access data.  The data remains in the possession of the originating agency or other source where the data are updated and maintained.

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Where do I find information about data standards, metadata standards, and formats?

Ocean.data.gov provides a Technical page where you can find recommendations for metadata standards, data sharing standards, and data quality standards. These recommended standards are based on existing standards that are commonly used. For example, Federal geospatial data are required to use the Federal Geospatial Data Committee (FGDC) standards for their metadata. All data provided through ocean.data.gov meet these standards.

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What is the relationship between Ocean.data.gov and the Multipurpose Marine Cadastre?

Ocean.data.gov and the Multipurpose Marine Cadastre are complementary efforts. The main difference between these two efforts is in size and scope. There is a hierarchical distinction in that ocean.data.gov will encompass spatial and other data, decision support tools, and related information to support all ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes planning activities. The Multipurpose Marine Cadastre’s (MMC) primary focus is on renewable energy planning and siting as specified in Section 388 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The suite of spatial data and tools in the MMC were developed within the context of renewable energy planning, siting, and permit review. Most of the data sets and tools found within the MMC have broader applicability and will be made available to ocean.data.gov to extend their discovery and use.

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What is Ocean.data.gov?

Ocean.data.gov is part of the national information management system called for under the National Ocean Policy.  Ocean.data.gov is a one-stop shop for data, information, and tools to support ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes planning efforts.  It brings Federal data to the public in an open and transparent manner.  Ocean.data.gov is a collaborative effort by agencies with direct responsibilities for the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.  In this community on Data.gov, we’ve brought together data from numerous agencies, including NOAA, Navy, the Department of the Interior (BOEM, USGS, FWS), EPA, Coast Guard, NASA, Army Corps of Engineers, DOE, and NSF.  And, we are working to bring you additional data and information from other agencies that have responsibilities that touch the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.

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Where do these data come from?

The data provided in ocean.data.gov are provided by Federal agencies that collect and disseminate data and information about the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes.  For example, data about water depth are provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  The agency that provides the data is responsible for ensuring that the data are accessible through the web, that they meet data quality standards, and that they are up-to-date, where appropriate.

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How does this differ from other data efforts such as regional data portals?

Ocean.data.gov currently provides a one-stop shop for discovery of and access to Federal  data and information in support of regional planning efforts across the nation. Planners can use these data to create region-specific maps, decision-support tools, or other products that may be useful for marine planning.  Ocean.data.gov also provides links to other existing data portals which may be of interest to marine planners or the public.

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What data can I expect to find here?

The data and information provided through ocean.data.gov is intended to be used for coastal and marine spatial planning, including both spatial data for mapping as well as data that could be used in decision-support tools.

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Can data from State and academic sources be included in this portal?

Right now, the portal is focused on making Federal data and information available and easily accessible and includes links to regional portals that provide data from non-Federal sources. We are working to include non-Federal data as well, and we welcome your input on what data to include.

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How do I get involved?

The best way to get involved is to visit our Bulletin Board to share information or contact us via the Feedback page. The success of ocean.data.gov is based on the users working with the Federal Government to ensure the data and information needed are available and accessible. We need to hear from you about which data you would like to see and how best to provide the data to you.

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Who can suggest data and information to be included in Ocean.data.gov?

Anyone can identify data or information that could be included in ocean.data.gov. The National Ocean Council has a team that oversees the content and works with the sources to provide the data. If you would like to suggest data or information which may be included, please go to the Feedback page and submit your suggestion.

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