FAQ for Data Providers

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Frequently Asked Questions for Data Providers

In October of 2019, the Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS) released a new strategic plan that articulates a vision for Smart Great Lakes and how GLOS’ goals in 2020-2025 will support that vision. GLOS received wide and positive feedback on this ambitious strategic plan that will broadly benefit our current and future stakeholders. The plan also yielded many important questions that GLOS staff are eager to answer thoroughly and transparently. 

Please reach out to GLOS staff with any questions. 

Contact us

Kelli Paige, Chief Executive Officer, kelli@glos.org

Becky Pearson, Chief Operations Officer, becky@glos.org

Tim Kearns, Chief Information Officer, tim@glos.org

Read the strategic plan | Watch the Data Providers Webinar

 

Q: At a very high level, is the strategic plan for the next five years a departure from the plan before?  If so, how?

A: GLOS exists to provide end-to-end data services that support science, policy, management, and industry in the Great Lakes. “End to end data services” are, on one end, technologies that monitor the lakes and produce data, and, on the other end, the software and services needed to turn that data into valuable information for our users. Looking forward, GLOS is working to build our capacity and broaden our reach to new users, partners, and stakeholders. This is all in support of the Smart Great Lakes vision, to advance technology applications that improve our understanding, management, and use of the Great Lakes. 

Our strategic plan does not reflect a change in what we do, but we are updating how we do it. After hearing from stakeholders, parthers, IOOS leadership, we found that, in order to provide the most value to people in our region, we needed to invest more heavily in providing “end-to-end” data services. This means focusing more on the technology and staff needed to get data from its source to users in the form of useful information. Improving our technology and in-house capacity means we will be able to serve a larger community, broadening our reach to new users, partners, and stakeholders. 

 

Q: Has the GLOS business model changed with the new strategic plan?

A: From Page 6: “GLOS is transitioning from a grants-based organization to a services-based one, changing our funding model, and adjusting the way we manage projects.”

GLOS is, and will remain, a registered non-profit organization and is a part of the federally funded IOOS program.  

Our change in business model, from grants-based to service-based, simply reflects a change in our approach to managing our programming. GLOS recognizes that the data collection, management, and delivery projects we support need to be better leveraged to have a greater impact for the Great Lakes region. Rather than rely on short-term grant funding to support discrete project outcomes, GLOS is improving our in-house capacity to serve as a consistent and sustained resource for our partners. GLOS will still make grant opportunities available, but the projects we fund will be more systematically connected, integrated, and supported by GLOS services such as technical specifications and standards, QA/QC, data telemetry and transfer guidance, custom queries, and APIs.

With the rollout of the Smart Great Lakes Initiative, GLOS expects to be serving a significantly larger constituent base.  As the strategic plan states, GLOS is going to grow a technology ecosystem of new users, new communities, and new technology partners.  These new groups are going to place increasing demands on an already limited funding model, and GLOS needs to diversify our support in order to fulfill our new obligations. This evolution to a services-based model is meant to provide data management services to a larger pool of stakeholders using the resources available, while still supporting observing activities in strategic areas.

A core pillar of this plan is to develop a revolutionary IOOS-certified data management infrastructure. The new GLOS information technology platform will, as described in the strategic plan, “power supporting applications, ingest and disseminate content through application programming interfaces, and serve as a comprehensive window into available data in the Great Lakes region.”  

 

Q: Will GLOS charge for access to data? 

A: No, basic access to Great Lakes data and information remains free through GLOS. There could be circumstances where an organization has customized data management needs, higher than usual data access requirements, or other features requiring engineering development work on GLOS’ part. In those situations, GLOS may charge a cost-recovery fee to help offset expenses to support these requirements.  

Page 12 of the strategic plan lays out four ways to interact with GLOS. Partners, Grantees, Clients, and Subscribers are all the broad categories of communities that will interface with GLOS. Only “Client” and “Subscriber” categories would require a cost-recovery fee structure. The general public is included under the ‘Partner’ category. “Partners,” the vast majority of stakeholders, including most “data providers, data users, open data advocates,” will continue to access data and use GLOS services for free. 

Access to the new information technology platform is made possible through funding from the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) program and other donor funds. 

 

Q: Will changes to the strategic plan mean loss of observing equipment or jobs? 

A: GLOS typically does not own the observation assets but rather provides them through grants. Decisions regarding the staffing, operations and maintenance of, or acquisition of new observation assets are ultimately up to the partner organization leadership. 

It is difficult to predict how funding levels and priorities will influence future grant opportunities for observing equipment or monitoring programs. However, it is likely that rather than provide funding for general operations of observing assets, future funding will be directed towards new equipment, equipment upgrades, or technical support. We hope that all GLOS funding and services can continue to be leveraged by our partners to support operations of critical observing assets. Ideally, it would be possible to continue to maintain all existing funding relationships, add equipment in under-observed areas, and build out data management capacity, but unfortunately, we have to work within the realities of our funding limits. GLOS believes that this evolution to supporting the Smart Great Lakes Initiative will open up opportunities for new partnerships and increased funding that can, in turn, raise the profile of the Great Lakes.

 

Q: Tell me more about this new information technology platform! 

A: GLOS is building a next generation technology platform to make it easier for data scientists, researchers, data contributors, the general public, policy makers, technologists, organizations and individuals to use data and information about the Great Lakes.  Ranging from registering assets with smart sensors that are deployed in the field to data onboarding and data tunneling, the new platform will provide a wide range of data services to provide rapid, contextual, and relevant information to our users. It will be an API-driven platform, meaning that Application Programming Interfaces will allow bi-directional flow of data and information to go between devices and organizations with their own infrastructure. GLOS has plans to also develop new web and mobile applications to make it easier to discover, access and learn from data and information about the Great Lakes. 

Please reach out to GLOS staff with any questions. 

 

Contact us

Kelli Paige, Chief Executive Officer, kelli@glos.org

Becky Pearson, Chief Operations Officer, becky@glos.org

Tim Kearns, Chief Information Officer, tim@glos.org

 

Read the strategic plan | Watch the Data Providers Webinar