26 August 2021

Project between Data Observatory and Universidad Austral will process oceanographic data from the Magallanes Region

  • Through its Research Center Dynamics of High Latitude Marine Ecosystems, IDEAL (Investigación Dinámica de Ecosistemas Marinos de Altas Latitudes), Universidad Austral has gathered a large amount of data since 2016, which include ocean monitoring indicators from the Region of Magallanes. With the support of AWS, Data Observatory will provide availability for these data to be accessible on an open web platform for national and international researchers, as well as for decision makers from different productive sectors.

Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (UAI) and Universidad Austral de Chile (UACh) will sign an agreement to build a platform, with the support of Data Observatory and its founding members, capable of storing, managing, curating, and sharing historical oceanographic data related to the Magallanes Region, obtained from the Research Center Dynamics of High Latitude Marine Ecosystems (IDEAL). The platform will begin to operate near the end of 2021, and it will initially only offer free access to researchers, but this offer will later be made extensive to decision makers from different productive sectors.

Every year, IDEAL generates a great volume of data from scientific cruises, and from two meteorological stations and two oceanographic sites dedicated to anchored monitoring, installed in the Strait of Magellan and the Beagle Channel. The two latter sites collect continuous indicators (time-based data) of temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen at several levels of depth (from 50m to 300m deep). When oceanographic campaigns are considered, the data includes research cruises carried out in October 2016, July 2017, and July 2018, in collaboration with the CADIC scientific research center (Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas), – in Ushuaia, Argentina – to measure water column profiles related to temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and chlorophyll concentration, all along the central axis of the Beagle Channel.

Data Observatory and its founding members, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (UAI), will make the most of these UACh data from 2016, by not only storing them and standardizing their formats, but also by processing, using, and visualizing them in a more approachable way, with graphs and interactive maps that have specialized filters.

Ricardo Giesecke, a Research Associate from IDEAL, and an academic at UACh, explains: “Since we have an enormous amount of data that we would like to make available for the community, we partnered up with DO for architecture in which they can be delivered in an agile and friendly manner. Free access will be given and, through this alliance, we expect to generate information that is easy to interpret and visualize”.

According to the scientist, this information will especially be useful for the regional governments. In addition, it will make it possible to monitor the impact of climate change within the region, and generate baselines to evaluate the systemic changes that can be related to anthropogenic impact, with robust and validated databases.

“Magallanes is a very unexplored and highly interesting region for scientists around the world, since it anticipates how climate change will affect the Antarctic Peninsula in the future”, Giesecke states.

Álvaro Paredes, DataCube Developer at Data Observatory Foundation, adds: “We receive test data and we process them based on their different original formats. Therefore, we generate a unique standardized database to enable system interoperability. Nowadays, we are working on system connection, and AWS is designing a visual platform proposal”.

Carlos Jerez, Executive Director of Data Observatory, and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Sciences at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, highlighted this initiative as an inter-academic effort. “This is a clear example of the contribution being made by Data Science to research and innovation projects, since the data´s value has enormous potential to solve problems with a regional and global impact”.

This project is expected to finalize by the end of 2021. For now, the underlying infrastructure and its subsequent implementation are being validated, together with the data visualization tool, and both of these deliverables will have final adjustments incorporated into them. This project is scalable, and UACh can use it to process other databases, or they can customize it to be replicable and portable for other experiences within academia, industry, or public institutions. This technology makes extracting information easier and more effective, helping to reduce the time needed to initiate a scientific assignment or an innovation project and, at the same time, delivering different sources of data in one available place.

By the end of this year, and with the support of IDEAL, UACh will activate a program with Fondequip (Fondo de Equipamiento Centífico y Tecnológico), a fund for scientific and technological equipment, also part of the agreement with Data Observatory, to install a Continuous Monitoring System on a ferryboat from the Austral Broom shipping line, one that crosses from Puerto Williams to Punta Arenas, with the objective of collecting data related to temperature, salinity, levels of oxygen, petroleum, chlorophyll concentration, nitrate concentration, pH, micro algae toxins, among others, and using sensors that will be mounted below the deck. In the future, UACh could eventually decide to broaden its data processing with Data Observatory to incorporate the IDEAL meteorological monitoring systems located on the continent of Antarctica.


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