Data Access

NOAA Ocean Exploration ensures public access to the diverse scientific data and information collected during ocean expeditions that we support, including those on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. Data collections typically include oceanographic and geophysical parameters, video, images, documents, and other information, provided in a range of data formats.

Geospatial data are considered a national capital asset. National policy and international standards guide data management best practices to ensure timely and broad public accessibility to these data.

Since the inception of NOAA’s ocean exploration program in 2001, data management by NOAA Ocean Exploration has been guided by the 2000 President’s Panel Report (pdf, 2.6 MB) recommendations which prioritized rapid and unrestricted data sharing as one of five critical exploration program components.

More recently, Public law 111-11 [Section XII Ocean Exploration] (pdf, 42 KB) reinforced and expanded NOAA Ocean Exploration data management objectives, continuing to stress the importance of sharing unique exploration data and information to improve public understanding of the oceans, and for research and management purposes.

Once data from expeditions supported by our office have been quality control checked, they are freely available via the tools listed below.



Data Access Tools

Digital Atlas

The Digital Atlas is a searchable, interactive map that displays the locations of NOAA Ocean Exploration-sponsored expeditions from 2001 to present and provides access to directly download unique, expedition-specific scientific data from distributed repositories, including NOAA archives, NOAA Library catalogs, and special collections. Visit the Digital Atlas often for new data releases and information updates, as information is added over time as data quality control measures are completed; data are released; and publications, lesson plans, and related materials are published. Visit this page for additional information on how to access data via the Digital Atlas.

Access the Digital Atlas

Water Column Sonar Data

Visit this data portal to access water column sonar data collections, the acoustic backscatter from the near-surface to the seafloor, including multibeam and split-beam data from NOAA Ocean Exploration expeditions on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. These data can be used to assess physical and biological characteristics of the ocean including the spatial distribution of plankton, fish, methane seeps, and underwater oil plumes, among other things.

Access the Water Column Sonar Data Portal


NOAA Ocean Exploration Video Portal

Search, discover, and access video data collected from the remotely operated vehicle system on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. The NOAA Ocean Exploration Video Portal provides previews of videos; the ability to download low-resolution and ProRes versions of videos; and access to details about when and where video was collected, including downloadable dive summaries and links to any associated web coverage. All video on the Portal is in the public domain.

Access the NOAA Ocean Exploration Video Portal

Accessing Samples Collected by NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer

Sampling during Okeanos Explorer missions is intended to acquire the minimum number of specimens to provide a general representation of the biological and geological settings for a given dive or an area of interest, as well as other relevant information. This page provides information on how to access physical, biologic, and geologic samples and digital sampling data collected during missions on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer.

Learn more



List of Archived Data Types

The list below includes all data types that are archived following a cruise on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. Please note that certain geospatial data related to submerged cultural heritage sites may be restricted and unavailable for download.

Archived data are typically available within one to six months after a cruise is completed. The NOAA Ocean Exploration data management team also creates ISO standard metadata for all Okeanos Explorer data housed in the archives.