Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Beginning of Ocean Data Endeavours (ODE)

Thirty-nine months ago I started on a deep dive into developing a reference architecture for the digitization of oceans. The idea of developing this reference architecture was initiated by the Canadian Government awarding Atlantic Canada with the Ocean Super Cluster initiative and all my recent work with leading the software engineering group at Provincial Aerospace. My writing and research into ocean data took me to the point where I needed to deepen my understanding of a number of subjects, and I needed this deeper understanding before I could continue the writing and research (even though you could consider deepening understanding as research). I needed to have an intermediate understanding of what had come before and the current state of things with a reference architecture for the digitization of oceans. In particular, I needed to work directly with ocean data and the standards that influence its structure.

Over the last three years I have been lucky to work with Triware Technologies Inc., and together we have found projects that align with this need to deepen my understanding of all things digital and all things ocean. My recent project successes include;

OCIO Digital by Design - I was fortunate to be awarded the opportunity to be the data architect for the initial phase in digitizing the NL governments citizen facing portal. I remained on the project for the first 12 months through to the portals launch. Being on the design team to create the data tier and integrate with legacy data was a great achievement. And I deeply enjoyed using a scrum / jira approach with a multi-vendor, multi-disciplined team. We achieved a lot in a short period of time.

Lessons Learned - Agile, Scrum and Jira can scale well to a government organization with multiple scrum teams working toward an integrated solution.

Ocean Sector Search - We needed a way to index the Canadian Ocean Sector. So we built a search engine seeded by as many oceans related URLs as our analysts could gather. The technical architecture of this ocean specific search engine can be found in this previous post.

Lessons Learned - With reasonable technical effort Nutch can be configured and seeded to crawl a specific industry sector (in this case Canada Oceans Sector). The Nutch crawl harvested a significant number of pages (> 32000) that were then loaded into the ElasticSearch (ELK) stack while relevancy scoring each page along the way.

NLCHI - My work with the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information (NLCHI) was a quick engagement to focus their requirements backlog into a few manageable sprints. I was super fortunate to help get an important project underway and gain insights into the concept of a customer focused data workbench for a specific subject domain.

Lessons Learned - The idea of a personal data workbench is very compelling when you consider the number of data sets already available in the oceans sector. And if we could fold in open and proprietary data sets, while honoring security and privacy we may be onto something...

Nalcor Energy Database Consolidation - So many databases, so little time. One of my favorite enterprise type projects is when the project pays for itself, over time, by the savings created by the projects downstream accomplishments. Not revenue generation, but operational expense savings. I believe one of the best KPI's for IT is not new systems implemented, but old systems retired.

Lessons Learned - an amazing amount of data can be moved with the correct use of tools, well built and managed ETL (pipelines), and a mindset of automation.

Argo Floats - 2018


Over the last month I have revisited how to best develop my intermediate understanding of oceans data. After a number of conversations, with experts of oceans data, I believe my next steps are twofold; I need to focus on the existing standards for oceans data and I need to write some code to integrate some open oceans data sets.

I need to find opportunities to work directly with oceans data. If you are in the oceans sector, in any way, and you have the need of a very experienced data engineer, then I would love to help with your project. If you know of an oceans data project in needs of a data engineer, please forward on my credentials. Thanks to everyone for reading this far. And thank-you Triware for your ongoing career support!