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The National Data Buoy Center, located along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, began operations in 1967 as a program under the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1970, NOAA was formed and NDBC was transferred to that agency. The first buoys operated and managed by NDBC were large, 12-meter discus buoys that were constructed of steel and deployed in deep waters off the U.S. East Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. By 1979, NDBC maintained 26 stations: 16 in the Pacific Ocean, 7 in the Atlantic Ocean and 3 in the Gulf of Mexico. NDBC deployed 8 more stations in the Great Lakes during the 1980s. Today, NDBC operates 115 moored weather/ocean platforms, 52 coastal marine stations, 39 deep-ocean tsunameters and 55 tropical atmosphere ocean moored platforms in the equatorial Pacific. In response to the growing number of stations, NDBC established a data quality assurance group that quality controls data from all NDBC platforms, on a daily basis. The real-time observations are released through the NWS Telecommunications Gateway in Silver Spring, Maryland and sent to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Information System telecommunication services. Automated quality control is applied before the observations are released (checking for parity errors, range checks for spurious points, time continuity checks and zero wave heights). In addition, the observations are evaluated after 45 days, edited and sent to U.S. archive data centers for permanent storage. In 2001, NDBC began receiving, processing, quality controlling and disseminating observations from 10 stations deployed by the Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System. Weather Forecast Offices, mariners, transportation officials and the public wanted to ensure that the observations received NDBC's "stamp of approval" before they were used in daily operations. In July 2006, with funding from the NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS?) Program, NDBC started the IOOS? Data Assembly Center - operating 24 hours a day, - seven days a week in response to increasing marine platforms, real-time observations and the need to support buoy recovery and deployment operations in the far reaches of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.