Oceanography and Scientific Data (OSD)

Providing Access to Ocean Data

OSD's mandate is to manage and archive ocean data collected by DFO, or acquired through national and international programmes conducted in ocean areas adjacent to Canada, and to disseminate data, data products, and services to the marine community in accordance with the policies of the Department.

The Oceanography and Scientific Data (OSD) was formed in 2006 from the merging of two groups: the Marine Environmental Data Service (MEDS) and the Engineering Development and Geomatics Service of the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS), both of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

MEDS had been established in 1969 to coordinate the Canadian Wave Climate Study. It was significantly enlarged in 1973, when the Tides and Water Levels Section of the Canadian Hydrographic Service and the Canadian Oceanographic Data Centre (established in 1962) were incorporated into it.

Data Management, Archival and Dissemination

Data management, archival and dissemination of physical oceanographic data and data products on national and international scales is still a key component of OSD mandate, however it has since been broadened to include chemical and biological oceanography.

The Canadian primary area of interest is 35 to 90 degrees North latitude and 40 to 180 degrees West longitude but for some specialized data types and programmes the area of interest is global. Real-time, near real-time or historical data are made available as appropriate.

Physical, chemical and biological data collected by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are today managed by a distributed system of archive centres within DFO.

Policy, Standards, and Responsibilities

Policy, standards, and responsibilities are developed by a National Data Management Committee (NDM) chaired by OSD with members from all DFO regions that collect the data.

The NDM was formed in 1997 to provide advice on the scientific data management issues, and to develop and implement short and long-term goals for data management for the Science Sector of DFO. The working group was also mandated to coordinate and standardize processing, archival, and access procedures and policies for these data. OSD and the regional centres thus provide coordinated data, data products and services to the marine community.

Requests for data, data products and additional information may be made online by completing the Data Request Form