Who’s going where and how? What can they do when they get there? Towards an integrated database for polar research logistics and infrastructures
As polar research and observing systems come of age, there is increasing interest in sharing information about logistical resources, which in turn makes it possible for the resources themselves to be shared across institutions and nations, facilitating multi-agency collaboration. In contrast with the extensive efforts that have been made to align metadata standards for discovering scientific datasets, attempts to standardise the way logistical resources and infrastructures are documented are in their infancy. A new collaboration between the Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) and the European Polar Board (EPB) is a prime example of the challenges inherent in aligning these infrastructure and logistics databases to maximise their use and share resources. DueSouth, SOOS’ database of upcoming expeditions to the Southern Ocean, holds information about planned expeditions by Antarctic and oceanographic researchers, as well as fishing and tourist vessels. However, it holds very little information about the vessels, aircraft, and research stations associated with those expeditions, and has struggled to collate information about the projects associated with them. Meanwhile, the European Polar Board’s infrastructure database, developed collaboratively with EU-PolarNet, INTERACT, EuroFleets, COMNAP, SIOS and others, contains detailed information about European Arctic and Antarctic research stations, vessels, aircraft and other assets and facilities. The EPB recently agreed to host DueSouth for SOOS, which will provides an opportunity to integrate the databases and align core fields. The combination of the databases in a modern, cloud-based, serverless technology provides high availability and high performance, with a scalable platform to be made available to the polar communities. This facilitates easy access to search and discovery of expedition, logistics and infrastructure resources, maximising use and collaboration. In this presentation, we will discuss the challenges and lessons learned so far in integrating these databases, our engagement with similar efforts from EU-PolarNet 2 and the Polar Observing Assets Working Group (POAwg), and our recommendations for the way forward.