Because there are no formal academic education programmes on oceanographic data management the IODE programme has a long history of providing technical training. IODE also organizes technical training on marine information management (as practiced by marine science librarians).
IODE has not developed a documented strategy but implements its capacity development through two methodologies:

- Development of regional ocean data and information networks (ODINs): these project-based initiatives provide an integrated CD package including equipment, training, seed funding for operational activities, and networking of data/information centres in a regional consortium. The first region where the ODIN concept was implemented was Africa: ODINAFRICA (1989-2015) where it proved very successful. In other regions such as ODINCARSA (Latin America), ODINECET (European countries in economic transition), ODINCINDIO (IOCINDIO region) and ODINWESTPAC (WESTPAC) regions similar initiatives were established but with varying success. The limiting factor was funding: whereas a reliable long-term donor could be found for ODINAFRICA (Government of Flanders, Kingdom of Belgium) this was not (yet) possible for the other regions.

- Development of the OceanTeacher Academy (OTA) and OceanTeacher Global Academy (OTGA) : through the OceanTeacher Academy project (2009-2013) IODE developed a web-based technical training platform. The OceanTeacher learning management system was initially developed as a training system for ocean data managers (working in ocean data centres), marine information managers (working in marine science research libraries) as well as for marine researchers who wish to acquire knowledge on data and/or information management. In addition, OceanTeacher is increasingly being used for training in other related disciplines. The URL is Experience collected over 5 years revealed a few weaknesses of OTA: (i) number of students trained per country is too small; (ii) travel time can be very long; (iii) courses taught in English only; and (iv) insufficient focus on locally relevant issues.

- The OceanTeacher Global Academy Project will develop a global training centre network and utilize this network to increase national capacity in coastal and marine knowledge and management. It will do so by (i) promoting the establishment of Regional Training Centres and fostering their close collaboration through advanced information technology; and (ii) further developing the OceanTeacher Learning System. It is expected that approx. 10 regional training centres will become operational in 2015 (United States, Colombia, Belgium, Senegal, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, India, China and Malaysia. While they will focus on training related to data and information management within the framework of the 4 year project, the RTCs and training platform can be utilized for courses related to other areas of the IOC mandate, depending on the locally available expertise. Substantial support is received from the Government of Flanders for the IOC Project Office for IODE and for the OTGA project.
Find out more about IODE from 
Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) 
Capacity development related to the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) is integrated in the OBIS Strategic Plan: Strategic Plan for the Ocean Biogeographic Information System, including resource requirements

“OBIS would help to advance expertise and technical capacity of IOC member states and the oceanographic community as a whole to collect, manage and share/publish marine biogeographic data (operational biogeography). This is an area in which IODE already excels (through IODE’s projects such as Ocean Teacher Academy and Ocean Data Standards and Best Practices), and one that OBIS can substantially contribute by providing training in biodiversity data management. If successful this could also result in an expanded OBIS network to include less represented geographic regions or new taxonomic areas which will enhance both access to new data and/or further the application of data by organizations that do not currently possess the ability to use the data.”

OBIS identified two major CD needs, i.e. (i) capacity to collect, manage and publish biodiversity data (data providers) and (ii) skills on how to access, analyse and interpret data and use the tools to generate information and indicators for national, regional and global reporting processes (data users/information providers).


To respond to these specific CD needs the OBIS strategic plan proposes the following activities and targets:


Performance indicator Benchmarks
Increase the institutional and professional capacity in marine biodiversity and ecosystem data collection, management, analysis and reporting tools, as part of IOC-UNESCOs International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE)’s Ocean Teacher Global Academy (OTGA)
Increased Nr of scientists and data managers trained in standards and best practices of biological data collection, sample processing, data management (including quality control), data storage and sharing, and data publication processes.

Course material will be uploaded to the online OTGA Learning Platform.

At least two biodiversity training courses will be organised at the OBIS project office in Oostende on a yearly basis. One for data providers (OBIS nodes) and one for data users.

Provide information and guidance on the use of biodiversity data for education and research and provide state of the art web services to society including decision makers (“contribution to Ocean Literacy”).
Increased Nr of information packages available for educators and scientists using marine biodiversity data for education or research

Information maps, graphics and education packages will be made available online at (Lessons using OBIS).

Provide listing of these uses on the OBIS website.

Increased use of marine biodiversity data for regional and global ocean management and governance (use of OBIS by identification of MPAs, CBD EBSAs, FAO VMEs, Marine Spatial Planning, Species Conservation acts, National reporting and resource management.

Figure 1: OBIS activities and targets


Find out more about OBIS from 


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