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The Australian Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) — From initiation to operation

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1 Author(s)
S. S. Allen ; Integrated Marine Observing System University Of Tasmania, Sandy Bay, Tasmania 7001, Australia

In 2007 the IMOS was initiated, its plan, to build a continent wide marine observing system in Australia. It is likely that at the end of 2009, over 90% of the initial planned infrastructure will be in place and delivering data to the marine research community. In the 2009/10 Australian Federal Budget EVIOS received an additional AUS 52M of funding, to extend the initial EVIOS for an additional 2 years to 2013 and provide funds for extension in sparsely instrumented areas. The Australian Government has recognised the value of the freely accessible, community designed, data stream in understanding our oceans and describing their change. IMOS is a national infrastructure of cohesive, coherent, quality assured, data for marine research, not bricks and mortar. The start up has not been without its challenges, exchange rate variations, equipment and sensors field deployed too early in their development cycle, HF radio interference, cyclone damage to name, etc. A clear focus on the end goal, good project management, adaptability, recognition that IMOS was a capability building exercise and the burying of partisanship have enabled these challenges to be tackled in a pragmatic manner and the EVIOS as a whole to be progressed. IMOS is transitioning from the start up phase to the operational phase, but is still focussed on delivering data for science, not operational oceanography. The challenges ahead relate to the expansion of the user base to other marine community members such as fishermen, fish farmers and local governments, the transition of the personnel base from "starters" to finishers, and ensuring the uptake of the data in answering the Australia's marine science questions. EVIOS is just the beginning of the marine observing system that Australia needs. As such, coverage is incomplete, but will be enhanced in prioritized steps as needs are defined and resources become available.

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Date of Conference:

26-29 Oct. 2009