GLOS Request for Information (and Influence)




CLOSED – Submission window closed June 26, 2020.

Download the PDF version

The Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS) is inviting information (and influence) to:



In October 2019, after a multi-year collaborative planning process involving stakeholders, partners, and board members, GLOS released a five-year strategic plan and launched the Smart Great Lakes Initiative. The strategic plan lays out an ambitious vision and updated approach to carrying out the GLOS mission. The changes reflect an evolving region that has the capacity to be more connected than ever before and also has the potential to address key management issues including harmful algal blooms, maritime safety, understanding the lake floor, and more, in new and innovative ways.

As part of our federal funding process, GLOS will submit a proposal for 5 years (June 1, 2021 – May 31, 2026) to IOOS by the end of 2020. The proposal will reflect our priorities for the coming years as highlighted in the strategic plan. GLOS is looking for new project ideas and partnerships to enhance our regional observing program and advance our strategic plan. We cannot do it alone and want to partner with you.



GLOS is seeking new ideas to help us prioritize our future programming and advance the Smart Great Lakes Initiative, which mobilizes partners across the region around using smart technology to better understand the environment and more effectively manage data. We are asking for your help in identifying the major data gaps, data access and sharing challenges, and continuous or emerging needs for improved information that can help in managing major Great Lakes issues. In addition to helping us identify major information problems, GLOS is looking for new project ideas for the next five-year period that will support and enhance data management and delivery, stakeholder engagement, and observation network growth.



Individuals can propose ideas in a narrative that should not exceed 3 pages. Additional pages for photos, maps, or relevant graphics are permitted. The narrative should include a succinct description of:

  1. The problem. All submittals should include, at minimum, a high-level summary of the data/information challenge and suggestions for how GLOS might direct capacity or resources to address the problem and benefit the Great Lakes community.
  2. The project, if applicable. Submitting a specific project idea is not necessary, but we welcome ideas for projects at various phases of planning and implementation.
  3. A brief summary of project partners and a budget estimate, if appropriate.

Problem/project descriptions were due COB Friday, June 26, 2020.

Examples of problems:

GLOS wants to better understand the major observing and information challenges experienced by our partners. Problems can range from high-level management and policy information needs to specific technical challenges for a type of observing technology. Submittals for problem ideas can be basin-wide or applied to a particular local geography. They can apply to a specific management issue or address more general challenges around accessing data and information. The primary requirement for all submittals is to characterize the problem being faced and suggest where GLOS capacity and resources might help address the problem. 

Specific examples of problem ideas include:

  • The need for year-round, near real-time data to address winter gaps in information (serving a variety of stakeholder management issues).
  • Suggested improvements to the GLOS Data Portal to address needs of data providers for enhanced data management and user analytics.
  • Identification and deployment of smart devices to collect new and varied data about the Great Lakes.
  • Identification of data gaps to inform agricultural best management practices in the Lake Erie basin.
  • Development of adequate guidance for community growth and development in the Great Lakes basin that is supported by historical and current data.

Examples of projects:

Once your submittal has summarized the major problem or challenge that needs to be addressed, you can optionally include suggestions for a specific project idea that can help address this challenge. Project ideas will be considered, as relevant, for inclusion in future planning for the Smart Great Lakes Initiative. If you envision GLOS data management support or funding would be needed, please provide a rough budget estimate and include phased or a la carte options as possible. Examples of specific project ideas include the following:

  • You see a need for the collection of high resolution lake floor bathymetry (underwater topography) that could lead to better analysis, modeling and understanding of benthic habitat, wrecks, and infrastructure.
  • You operate observing equipment to serve a local community but are experiencing reliability and compatibility issues due to outdated equipment. You would like to purchase equipment or upgrade existing equipment to enhance monitoring capabilities and ensure compatibility with the new GLOS IT platform.
  • You notice a lack of information integration regarding decision making around a particular Great Lakes management issue that GLOS might be able to support. You are unsure if it is being done elsewhere, but have experience or insight how it might be done in a certain community. You are looking for partners, technical support, and/or better information sharing that can help communities assess their risks.



This non-competitive process is an opportunity for you to provide your expertise, feedback, and perspective as a Great Lakes manager, scientist, policy-maker, or community member. Individuals and organizations that submit information and ideas through this RFI may be asked to:

  • Participate in Smart Great Lakes Initiative mini-grants.
  • Partner with GLOS at a strategic level to help advise the Smart Great Lakes Initiative.
  • Help with pioneering observation and data management developments with vendors/researchers.
  • Work collaboratively with GLOS and other partners in developing large-scale grant proposals or multi-year/phase programming.
  • Influence policy decisions that will make technology, data, and information more available to a broader community across the region.
  • Help strengthen and widen the network of Great Lakes data providers and users.

RFI responses will be reviewed by GLOS staff and will be compiled and organized for ongoing future reference by GLOS staff, board, and NOAA partners. We will use these responses to help us develop high-level programmatic priorities and may choose to include some ideas in some manner as part of the development of our next 5-year proposal to NOAA-IOOS or in other future funding opportunities. However, submitting a project idea in this RFI does not guarantee the project will be included in the 5-year NOAA-IOOS proposal. GLOS will be making ongoing decisions about project funding as year-to-year budgets can vary based on annual congressional appropriations. An informal and internal assessment of the responses may be made based on relevance to the current GLOS Strategic Plan, impact to the GLOS program, funding availability and opportunities, leveraged partnerships, production of useful Great Lakes information/data/products for the region, and cost effectiveness. This is not the sole information source for GLOS programmatic decision-making and will not be the only opportunity to provide project ideas for funding. GLOS expects to issue multiple, competitive funding opportunities in the future and will provide additional guidance and requirements for proposal submittals at that time.

GLOS serves a wide variety of different stakeholders and the data and information we aggregate is used for many different purposes. We want the Great Lakes community to benefit from and leverage the data sharing capacity that is available through GLOS and we are relying on your input, advice, and expertise to help us prioritize and guide our planning to make sure we are as effective in our mission as possible. We are thankful for the time and effort you take to submit a response and are hopeful this will be the start of a process that yields mutual benefit for you, GLOS, and the Great Lakes at large.

CLOSED – Submission window closed June 26, 2020.