Sea Technology

MAR 2018

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 42 of 45 March 2018 | ST 41 Dr. Steven Ad- ler was the chief data strategist for IBM from 2012 to 2017. His data strategies have yielded new prod- ucts, services and market strategies. Dr. Andrew Hudson (pictured) heads UNDP's Water & Ocean Governance Programme with a global portfolio of $200 million. Dr. David Vousden is a professor at Rhodes University, South Africa, with expertise in marine eco- system management and ocean gover- nance. F or hundreds of years, vast amounts of wealth have been extracted from the ocean without knowing much about the ecosys- tems that provide such bounty. To fill this gap—and sustain the ocean and the people that rely on it to feed their families and support their livelihoods—the world needs more ocean data. And we need it now. The ocean represents most of Earth's surface and living space— but is the least explored part of our planet. Improved monitoring, re- porting and analysis of ocean data will enable improved daily under- standing of what is happening on the surface, below the waves and on the seafloor, and what is hap- pening chemically, biologically and physically. It will also help to cata- log our impact, change our behav- ior and increase the ocean's sustain- able economic potential. The Ocean Data Alliance, a consortium of private and public entities, represents a first step. We envision a future in which 24/7 ocean observation, data collection, distribution and analysis provide a daily "ocean census" for improved management and decision making in the sustainable use of marine habitats, ecosystems and resources. Leveraging improved ocean data could enable the identification of new ocean uses that create or ex- pand economic sectors and create new jobs. To accomplish this vision, three things are needed. The first is coordination; coor- dination and collaboration among ocean data scientists, maritime industries, governments, United Nations agencies and NGOs on common ocean data protocols and standards for the classification and description of ocean biology, chem- istry, physics and geology. Data standards take years to develop, and often the best standards languish with delayed market adoption. In the new world of "The Cloud," it is possible to leave data at its source, harmonize it with a digital thesau- rus, dynamically link the sources, and curate it all for improved quali- ty, accessibility and purpose. The second is open data. A self-governing commons approach to ocean data can transform every data source into a globally relevant contribution to the sustainable de- velopment of ocean resources. That approach would treat every data contributor as a data steward, with reciprocal rights for data curation, attribution, security and revenue recognition from derivative works. With technologies like blockchain, it is possible to reward data collec- tion with royalties generated from derivative works, data analytics and data product development, and thereby create a completely new market for ocean data with tremen- dous benefits for data producers, consumers and intermediaries alike. The third is market development. The creation of a new Ocean Data Facility financial mechanism will stimulate market demand for ocean observation technology and data to catalytically increase ocean data ca- pabilities, needs and revenue, and serve as proof of concept. The facil- ity would accelerate needed invest- ments in ocean data collection and stimulate the development of new surface, deep-ocean and seafloor data-gathering and management technologies. It would set up geo- spatial Ocean Data Hubs (ODH) for participating nations, who would develop local data demand, skill and capacity for collecting, ana- lyzing and using open ocean data. Open ODH could be established to perform similar functions for the high seas, oceanic regions beyond national jurisdiction that account for nearly half of the planet. All of this would require signif- icant new ocean observation tech- nologies and data, leadership at the international level, and new forums for coordination and collaboration between established and new stake- holders. We all must do this with an ur- gency and purpose because our seas are rising, warming and acid- ifying, fish stocks and coastal habi- tats are under stress, and, as under- scored by the Ocean Sustainable Development Goal 14, we have about 10 to 15 years to get a lot of things right before potential ocean "tipping points" might be reached. Work is already underway to im- plement this new vision for ocean data. For example, the Agulhas and Somali Large Marine Ecosystems project supported nine African and Indian Ocean countries in an in- tensive data-gathering exercise be- tween 2007 and 2014. Supported through the United Nations Devel- opment Programme (UNDP) and financed through the Global Envi- ronment Facility (GEF), this effort dramatically increased understand- ing of the biological, physical and chemical functioning of this eco- nomically significant ecosystem. To save our ocean and our plan- et, innovative new financial mecha- nisms must be developed for ocean data, and new technologies must harmonize how we use the data without changing the way we work. New ocean governance models can be created to spread opportunity and democratize access to critical information. Done together, we can monitor our ocean and better fore- cast and plan sustainable develop- ment in the future. ST soap box We Need More Ocean Data—Steven B. Adler, Andrew Hudson and Dr. David Vousden

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Sea Technology - MAR 2018