Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is CIOOS?

The Canadian Integrated Ocean Observing System (CIOOS) is a national system that brings together the various elements of ocean observation in Canada. The goal of CIOOS is to facilitate access to existing resources, new information, and technology, and make data discoverable. CIOOS implementation will initially identify and connect existing infrastructure, then build on regional and national priorities as determined by the CIOOS community.

2. Who will CIOOS benefit?

The Canadian Integrated Ocean Observation System (CIOOS) will serve the needs of research and science, governments, various industries (fisheries, transport, environment, etc.), coastal communities, Canada, and the world. CIOOS strives to make data and information easily discoverable and accessible for all of its end-users.

3. How can my organization get involved?

Contact your regional association to learn more about how your organization can contribute to or benefit from CIOOS.

4. Similar initiatives currently exist which are also focused on collecting ocean data.  How is CIOOS different?

Currently in Canada data holdings for oceanographic data are scattered amongst numerous organizations—thus making access to data by end users (e.g., academic researchers, policy and decision-makers, and the general public) challenging. Through national coordination and a consolidated data management approach, CIOOS will minimize duplication of effort and lost opportunities while ensuring data is made FAIR: findable/discoverable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable for all Canadians and the global ocean community.

5. What is a EOV?  How were EOVs chosen for CIOOS?

Essential Ocean Variables or EOVs are defined biological, chemical or physical variables derived from field observations and contribute to the assessment of ecosystems. The initial set of CIOOS EOVs, determined through an Investigative Evaluation focused on Observations and Data, was funded by DFO in 2017. This consultative process assessed Canada’s monitoring needs to meet international and national commitments. The process involved a national and international survey of ocean observation systems, a web-based ground-truthing exercise and consultation of international experts, including the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and the US Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). CIOOS will explore additional EOVs through discussions with the communities.

6. How is CIOOS funded?

CIOOS is a federal government initiative funded by the Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response (MEOPAR), Networks of Centres of Excellence and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). We invite individuals, organizations, or businesses to contribute to CIOOS, as our organization will grow and expand. Be part of our oceans’ future. Please contact us at for more information.

7. Will Indigenous groups be involved with CIOOS? 

CIOOS supports user engagement, collaboration, inclusivity, and diversity as it aims to be representative of First Nations and sustain resilient coastal communities.  Indigenous organizations are part of the user engagement process; therefore, they are welcomed and encouraged to participate.

8. Is it free to use CIOOS as a data provider, and as a data user?

It is free to use CIOOS as a data user. If you are a data provider, please contact your regional association as each region has its own data dissemination policy.

9. Where is the data stored?

Please contact your regional association (RA) for more information about their data hosting policy.

10. Does CIOOS offer training?

Regional associations may provide training if needed. Please contact your RA for more information.

11. Will CIOOS expand its geographic scope?

At present, CIOOS comprises three Regional Associations (RAs). To ensure a sustainable and thriving system in the long-term, CIOOS is exploring expansion into new geographic areas. Future phases of CIOOS will involve consideration of how best to connect existing CIOOS RAs with two new regions: the Arctic and the Great Lakes.