Current activities

OBIS Steering Group

Approximately every year, OBIS hosts a meeting of the IODE Steering Group for OBIS (SG-OBIS) comprising Node managers and OBIS staff.

Meetings notes are on the OBIS web site from the seven meetings so far. The next meeting will be in November 2018 at Oostende, Belgium.


To extend and enrich the types of data that can be published to OBIS, the OBIS Data Content Enhancement Task Team (DataTT) devised a revision and extension to Darwin Core to handle events (e.g. trawls) and associated abiotic data (See Resources for the publication). There are current efforts to publish data using this new format. For example, the Australian node has published seabird observation datasets that incorporate sea and air measurements and bird behaviour observations. An instance of this is the RV Investigator Voyage IN2016_T02 Seabird Observations, Australia (2017) on the OBISAU IPT and online at OBIS.

There was an OBIS workshop in April 2018 on handling animal tracking data using this new standard. This will be applied to existing tracking data in the near future.

Integrating biological data into AODN

The Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN) is the main portal to aggregated oceanographic data within Australia. It has been built using the architecture of the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) facility and is dominated by physical datasets with a few key biological datasets that are projects funded by IMOS. What is missing is the integration of non-IMOS biological data can be integrated from ALA, GBIF and/or OBIS.

There are two major issues to solve

OBISAU has built a Geoserver mapping layer called dwc:marine_species. It is a potential method to get species data into the AODN portal. Subsetting the data can be achieved using a CQL filter and for the IN2016_T02 Seabird Observations, the CQL syntax is &CQL_FILTER=dwc:RESOURCE_LINK=%27

TDWG Data Quality Interest Group

Many tests that check the quality of biological data are informal, adhoc and under-applied and therefore can miss errors The TDWG Data Quality Interest Group has constructed a suite of tests and assertions that can be applied to a single record or a set of records. Examples are invalid or incomplete dates, geospatial outliers or bad coordinates, suspect depths or elevations, unknown or missing taxa values There will be presentations on this topic at the TDWG 2018 conference.

OBIS 2.0

The existing OBIS data portal is built from data harvested from its endorsed nodes about four times a year. The problem with this approach is that it can take 3-4 months before a new dataset appears at OBIS. GBIF on the other hand harvests data immediately once a dataset has been registered with them and within 24 hours it will appear on their data portal.

The OBIS 2.0 project aims to become more responsive in harvesting data and to improve its mapping functions. It is planned to be ready for testing in the latter half of 2018 and OBISAU will participate in that phase.

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