About Us


What is GLOS? 

The Great Lakes Observing System coordinates Great Lakes data collection, management, and sharing. 

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We serve scientists, decision-makers, business people, resource managers, and recreational users by providing critical current and historical data on lake conditions. This is accomplished by coordinating observations, information technology, data delivery products, and related services all in an effort to enable smarter decisions about how to use, manage, and restore the resources of the Great Lakes.

The Near-Term Design of the Great Lakes Observing System Enterprise Architecture Report  contains recommendations for specific actions and investments over five years that will achieve an integrated , comprehensive and sustainable observing system for the Great Lakes. This Great Lakes Observing System Enterprise—a highly leveraged evolution of existing resources—provides ready access to vital real-time and historical information to support decision making by managers and users of this unique and invaluable resource. Read the summary

Our focus falls into the following categories: maritime safety, ecosystems and fisheries, public health, and climate adaptation. Read more

We’re part of IOOS

GLOS is one of 11 Regional Associations of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), working to enhance the ability to collect, deliver, and use ocean and Great Lakes information. IOOS is a partnership among federal, regional, academic and private sector parties that work to provide data for tools and forecasts to improve safety, enhance the economy, and protect our environment.

IOOS supplies critical information about our nation’s oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes. Scientists working to understand climate change, governments adapting to changes in the Arctic, municipalities monitoring local water quality, and industries affected by coastal and marine spatial planning all have the same need: reliable, timely, and sustained access to data and information that inform decision making.

Improving access to key marine data and information supports several purposes. IOOS data sustain national defense, marine commerce and navigation safety. Scientists use these data to issue weather, climate and marine forecasts. IOOS data are also used to make decisions for energy siting and production, economic development, and ecosystem-based resource management. Emergency managers and health officials need IOOS information to make decisions about public safety. Teachers and government officials rely on IOOS data for public outreach, training and education.

GLOS is a certified Regional Information Coordination Entity for the U.S. IOOS network. Being certified means organizational and operational practices, including data management, meet recognized standards set by NOAA.

See certification documents here.

See the IOOS handout

And part of the Global Observing Network

IOOS is the U.S. contribution to the Integrated Earth Observation System (IEOS) and Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) as part of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). GLOS is a participating organization in GEO and provides technical and secretariat support to the regional Canadian and U.S. partnership: GEO-Great Lakes. Under the leadership of USGS and Environment Canada, the Great Lakes partnership includes representatives from many U.S. and Canadian agencies that have a role in the collection and exchange of information in the Great Lakes.

On behalf of GEO-Great Lakes, GLOS maintains a metadata catalog (GEO Network) that is registered and discoverable through GEO’s Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).

More GLOS Resources

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