IOOS by the Numbers – updated February 2017


About IOOS by the Numbers

U.S. IOOS® is a vital tool for tracking, predicting, managing, and adapting to changes in our ocean, coastal and Great Lakes environment.  “IOOS by the Numbers” is was developed as a graphical representation of IOOS  — a system of includes our partnerships, research and observing components, and data management capabilities. This figure is an annually updated collection of numbers that show the breadth of the IOOS Program as it is growing and evolving.  These data were obtained from multiple sources in February 2017. The original source for each value is identified below. Links to each federal partner or regional association are provided.




Currently, there are 17 federal organizations named as partners in U.S. IOOS. These agencies were also members of the statutorily mandated National Ocean Research Leadership Council (NORLC), under 10 U.S.C. § 7902. These organizations provide active support, funding, guidance, or advice to the program. The first 11 federal partners listed here are also part of the Interagency Ocean Observation Committee (IOOC). These 11 members play a direct oversight role in the development of U.S. IOOS.



There are 11 Regional Associations (RAs) which guide development of and stakeholder input to regional observing activities. The RAs serve the nation’s coastal communities, including the Great Lakes, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands and territories. 

aoos-logo Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS)   Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System (CariCOOS)
cencoos_lrg The Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS)   gcoos_logo_sml Gulf of Mexico Ocean Observing System (GCOOS)
GLOS_FinalLogoRBG_sml Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS)   MARACOOS_logo_sml Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS)
nanoos_sml Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS)   neracoos_sml Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal and Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS)
pacioos Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS)   sccoos_lrg Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS)
secoora_vert_lrg Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA)      




ACT is a partnership of research institutions, resource managers, and private sector companies dedicated to fostering development and adoption of effective and reliable sensors and sensor platforms for environmental monitoring and long-term stewardship of coastal ocean resources. ACT addresses the need for rapid technology integration into operational ocean observing systems and monitoring programs. The program is designed to facilitate creation and application of knowledge of current and emerging ocean observing technologies to improve the capabilities of existing observations and deliver new technological solutions to address specific global environmental issues and operational ocean observing challenges. The overall objectives of ACT are to:

  • Rapidly and effectively transition emerging technologies to operational use
  • Maintain a dialogue among technology users, developers, and providers
  • Identify technology needs and novel tools and approaches to meet those needs
  • Document the performance and potential of each technology
  • Provide the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) with information required for the deployment of reliable and cost-effective networks.



The COMT serves as a conduit between the federal operational and research communities and allows sharing of numerical models, observations and software tools. The COMT supports integration, comparison, scientific analyses and archiving of data and model output needed to elucidate, prioritize, and resolve federal and regional operational coastal ocean issues associated with a range of existing and emerging coastal oceanic, hydrologic, and ecological models. The Testbed has enabled significant community building (within the modeling community as well as enhancing academic and federal operational relations) which has dramatically improved model development.



The Marine Biodiversity Observation Network is composed of regional networks of scientists, resource managers, and end-users working to integrate data from existing long-term programs to improve our understanding of changes and connections between marine biodiversity and ecosystem functions.

MBON regional projects collaborate to discuss common interests, discuss strategies, methods, and define essential biodiversity variables.



The National backbone of IOOS includes buoys, water level gauges,as well as coastal and estuary stations run by our federal partners. For buoys, this includes buoys managed by NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS), and the Coastal Data Information Program (CDIP). Water level gauges are also managed by CO-OPs. The coastal and estuary stations are maintained through NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERR) System-Wide Management Program (SWMP).



The Regional Association Platforms include buoys, water level stations, and coastal or estuary shore-based stations. These platforms are maintained by the regional associations through non federal funds.




The IOOS Ocean Technology Transition project sponsors the transition of emerging marine observing technologies, for which there is an existing operational requirement and a demonstrated commitment to integration and use by the ocean observing community, to operational mode. Each year IOOS supports 2-4 projects. The number here reflects the total number projects supported by this effort.



The IOOS Animal Telemetry Network (IOOS ATN) is designed to serve as an access point to search, discover and access animal telemetry data, and associated oceanographic datasets, from a wide variety of species and platforms.



High frequency (HF) radar systems measure the speed and direction of ocean surface currents in near real time. Presently, 10 of the 11 U.S. IOOS regional Associations operated high frequency radar systems. Ocean surface current data from these radars are shared on national servers, which deliver the data to anyone who needs it. The number of HF Radar installations continues to grow as IOOS works towards making the entire coastline of the US covered with current measurements.


Glider_blue_plumpGLIDER DAYS

Gliders monitor water currents, temperature, and conditions that reveal effects from storms, impacts on fisheries, and the quality of our water. This information creates a more complete picture of what is happening in the ocean, as well as trends scientists might be able to detect. One “Glider Day” is defined as 1 glider in the water collecting data for 1 day.



As of the last update there are eight QARTOD manuals in-place for IOOS. These manuals establish authoritative QA/QC procedures for oceanographic data. 



The number of oceanographic datasets available from IOOS changes constantly as more data is registered to the catalog. The exact number of datasets at any given time is provided on the Data Discovery page.