Deepwater Horizon Searchable Database Comes Online

Turtle Covered in Oil
Credit: NOAA and Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Published May 5, 2015 9:12 AM by The Maritime Executive

new online tool developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to manage and integrate the massive amounts of data collected by different sources during the five years following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, is now available to the public online. Called DIVER for Data Integration, Visualization, Exploration, and Reporting, the tool allows the public to have easy access to information collected during the Deepwater response and cleanup process for research purposes and improved government transparency.

The DIVER tool is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s goal of sharing its large resources of environmental data with the public in order to support a data-driven economy. NOAA is a constituent agency of the Commerce Department.

“NOAA pledged from the start of the Deepwater event to be as transparent as possible with the data collected,” said Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “The DIVER data warehouse approach builds upon that original pledge, and is another significant step in making NOAA’s environmental data available for the research community, resource managers and the general public.”

DIVER provides flexibility for filtering and downloading collected data as part of the ongoing Natural Resources Damage Assessment and response. These data collections from the Deepwater Horizon spill now include more than 53,000 water, tissue, oil and sediment samples that have resulted in 3.8 million analytical determinations. Previously, data were being posted on www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov on a piecemeal basis, but now all the information has been combined and integrated into the DIVER tool.

The custom query tool, “DIVER Explorer,” allow users to refine questions and explore large datasets online. Query results are presented with maps, charts, tables, metadata and export options. A major focus of the DIVER system is providing access to integrated data, allowing for scientific analysis and decision-making.

DIVER was initially built to support the efforts of the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees to assess the risk and injury to natural resources, and support restoration and assessment of lost recreational use. The tool has been further expanded to provide transparent access to validated NRDA data.

As additional datasets regarding the gulf spill become publicly available, they will be accessible through DIVER, as well as NOAA’s Environmental Response Management Application Gulf Response, and the Gulf Spill Restoration website.