The Ocean Data Foundation (ODF) is a non-compete, not-for-profit organization committed to liberating data for one healthy ocean. The ODF is established by REV Ocean and built with private sector technology, scientific know-how, and a small but growing core staff that combines agile, pragmatic thinkers and doers from the maritime and offshore energy tech sector, academia, conservation, and government.
The ODF is home to ideas and digital tools that will disrupt how ocean data are used by businesses, governments, scientists, and conservation organizations to achieve a healthy and productive ocean. At the heart of the ODF is the Ocean Data Platform (ODP). ODP offers powerful solutions for uploading, aggregating and navigating vast amounts of ocean data by liberating and contextualizing the data. Furthermore, it offers a community portal and powerful solutions for visualizing data in 2D, 3D and 4D, as well as a robust infrastructure for running data-smart solutions using machine learning and artificial intelligence. The data are drawn from a variety of sources including traditional open institutional ocean data as well as data from industry, independent scientists, and even private citizens. ODP are built around the Cognite Data Fusion technology that comes from Cognite, the fastest growing software company in Norther Europe since 2016.
The ODP is being built intentionally to meet the needs of those who demand more and better ocean data – specifically app and tool builders. By being the best and most trusted source of ocean data, we want to empower others to create new knowledge and find new ways of unleashing the power of ocean data. The ODF will be a hub for ideas about how to measure the ocean and how to use these data in new and innovative waves. Using the data freely shared within the ODF, users will be able to develop and share ideas, code, comments, and criticism - creating a social ecosystem of individuals and organizations sharing information about the ocean. Through access to data and a wide set of perspectives, the ODF will help governments, non-profit organizations, corporations and private citizens to make data-driven decisions to address and reverse the decline of the ocean biosphere.
Why ODF? Why the Ocean?
The world’s oceans drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. Freshwater, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are all ultimately provided and regulated by the sea. Throughout history, oceans and seas have been vital conduits for trade and transportation. Today, over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods and globally the market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at $3 trillion per year. Careful management of this essential global resource is a critical for addressing climate change and ensuring a sustainable future.
Yet nearly all indicators of ocean health indicate a biosphere in rapid decline. As much of 40% of the world’s oceans are heavily affected by human activities, including pollution, depleted fisheries and loss of coastal habitats. Many scientists fear we are on the brink of a large scale ocean extinction event unless urgent action is taken. The UNFCCC has estimated that it will take over $100bn a year by 2020 to implement such changes and mitigate the effects of a degraded ocean and to transition to a sustainable ocean economy. One of the first steps towards addressing and reversing the rapid decline in ocean health is understanding the problem. This includes a) understanding how humanity interacts with oceans, b) how we benefit from and impact the ocean, and c) predicting how our decisions now and in the future will affect ocean conditions. A key obstacle to reversing ocean decline is the lack of ocean data that can be easily and readily used. Much ocean data are not shared, are hard to find, and cannot be effectively accessed.
According to a joint effort by NOAA and the IOC, (World Ocean Database 2018) initial attempts at creating world ocean databases “have proven to be of great utility to the international oceanographic, climate research, and operational environmental forecasting communities.” By integrating both technological and social networking the ODF will build a platform to meet the needs of all ocean users and will be the catalyst that makes it possible to harness the rapidly expanding promises of big data, AI, and the fourth industrial revolution.