International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE)

The IODE Programme

The IODE Programme is a global network of marine scientists and institutions whose purpose is free and open access to and exchange of marine scientific and oceanographic data and information among the relevant institutions and agencies in IOC Member States.

IODE: A Global Network

The IOC's International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) system was established in 1961 to :

"enhance marine research, exploration, and development by facilitating the exchange of oceanographic data and information between participating member states."

With the advance of oceanography from a science dealing mostly with local processes to one which is also studying ocean basin and global processes, researchers are more critically dependent on the availability of an international exchange system to provide global data and information from all available sources. Additionally, scientists studying local processes benefit substantially from access to data collected by other member states in their area of interest. The economic benefit of obtaining data by exchange as opposed to collecting it oneself is huge.

The success of the IODE programme depends on the cooperation and support of participating IOC Member States, and the involvement of many individual institutions and marine scientists, who contribute not only data, but also the necessary expertise to maintain and further develop the IODE system. Without this national support, funded directly by the Member States, the system could not continue to exist.

Although the system itself is an IOC programme, its specific operational services are provided primarily by World Data Centres (WDCs), National Oceanographic Data Centres (NODCs) and Responsible National Oceanographic Data Centres (RNODC), which also operate under the auspices of the International Council for Science (ICSU). RNODCs are National Oceanographic Data Centres who have accepted special additional responsibilities. These can include specific data types (e.g. Drifting Buoys data) or specific regions (e.g. Southern Oceans).


Data Centres Around the World: The National Oceanographic Data Centres


A National Oceanographic Data Centre (NODC) is a centralized facility that provides continuous ocean data/information, in usable form, to a wide user community. These facilities acquire, process, quality control, inventory, archive and disseminate data in accordance with each member state's respective national responsibilities, which often include not only disseminating data and data products nationally, but also conducting international exchange. In member states that have not established a NODC, NODC duties have been assigned to another other agency within the member state. These agencies are referred to as Designated National Agencies (DNAs). With regard to international data exchange, the most fundamental responsibility of the NODC within the IODE network is to actively seek and acquire, from their national sources, internationally exchangeable data, as well as to process and quality control the data and submit them in a timely fashion to the appropriate WDC for Oceanography or RNODC. In return, the NODC can request and receive from the WDCs for Oceanography or RNODCs similar data or inventory information which they need for their own requirements.