What is the ODATIS Ocean Data Cluster?

The main task of the ODATIS Ocean Data Cluster is to make available data, products, software, tools and/or services intended primarily for the French scientific community working in the area of ocean research.

ODATIS (Ocean Data and Services Cluster) helps to describe, quantify and understand the ocean as a whole:

  • Ocean dynamics and thermodynamics;
  • Evolution of its physico-chemical properties;
  • Biochemical cycles;
  • Marine ecosystems functions;
  • Ocean evolution and ocean-climate link from the past evolution (paleo-oceanography).

It also covers coastal-specific topics (including estuaries and lagoons):

  • Morpho-dynamic evolution of the shoreline;
  • Coastline and sea-level;
  • Pollutions and eutrophication;
  • Coastal ecosystem changes and evolution.

ODATIS scientific objectives and scope

Most of the research carried out by the communities involved in the ODATIS Ocean Data Cluster is the subject of supervised prospectives by the specialized and inter-agency commissions CSOA and CSSIC of the CNRS-INSU, as well as those organized by the CNRS-INEE. They are also the subject of prospective reflection at the level of the Allenvi thematic groups, in particular the groups « Sea and Coastline », « Climate », « Environmental Assessment », « Risks » and « Infrastructure ».

This research, together with the associated observation systems, is supported at French level by various calls for proposals:

  • Inter-agency programmes: LEFE, EC2CO and PNTS, coordinated by CNRS-INSU;
  • CNES TOSCA programmes;
  • ANR programmes;
  • Basic support from organisations to national accredited observation services (SNO);
  • Local and regional support to SNO;
  • Basic support to the MENESR observational federative infrastructure via Allenvi and research operators (SOERE, IR, TGIR).

The data and products of ODATIS – Ocean Data Cluster – must also contribute to the implementation of public policies (in particular the MSFD), as well as to the development of the national socio-economic environment.

ODATIS Data and Service(s) Centers

ODATIS has nine Data and Service(s) Centers (DSC), of which two are Satellite DSCs (CERSAT & AVISO) and the seven others are in situ DSCs (SBR, IMEV, OASU, OMP, SISMER, Shom & Coriolis). They are present all over France. The DSC provide a set of operational functions for data management and/or processing.

Illustration of the 9 DSC of ODATIS.
ODATIS has 9 Data and Service(s) Centers of which 2 are satellite (AVISO & CERSAT) and 7 are in situ (Coriolis, Shom, SISMER, OMP, OASU, IMEV & SBR).

The DSCs ensure the provision of services on the following essential functions:

  • Hosting and managing databases/products;
  • Make data/products accessible and/or interoperable through the cluster portal;
  • Maintaining the related documentation.

Some Data and Services Centers (DSC) may provide additional services:

  • Providing access to data/products via discovery, selection and extraction tools which are compatible with the Cluster’s main portal;
  • Ensuring long-term archiving;
  • Assigning DOIs;
  • Synchronizing with international databases;
  • Creating products related to a geographic area or topic;
  • Providing processing tools;
  • Providing computing resources.


To be able to answer societies’ questions about their environment, research needs to address the “Earth System” as a whole, from the Earth’s core to the limits of the atmosphere. This while taking into account the interactions of its various components, and to explore all aspects ranging from the physical environment to the living environment. All this needs data and good data management. Therefore the Research Infrastructure (RI) DATA TERRA along with four thematic data clusters (ODATIS, AERIS, FORMATER & THEIA) and two cross-functional services (DINAMIS & INTERPOLES) were created.

Observation occurs at different stages of the scientific process: description, understanding, modelling and forecasting. Technical progress provides us with increasingly diverse capabilities that generate increasingly richer datasets. However, using or accessing these datasets can be made difficult by the variety of data types, their volume, the complexity of their underlying processing, their distribution and their location. In order to make the most of this unprecedented supply of data for the benefit of knowledge and society, all data center policies need to be aligned and appropriate approaches must be defined to process, archive and distribute the validated data and products derived from them.

Therefore, based on the final report of the working group created at the initiative of the CNES and CNRS-INSU, national research organizations agreed (at the end of 2013) to set up four national data clusters for coordinated management and centralized access to data. Each of this clusters correspond to a major compartment of the Earth system (solid Earth, ocean, continental surfaces and atmosphere):

RI DATA TERRA and its four data clusters (ODATIS, THEIA, FORMATER & AERIS)

These four data clusters are grouped in the Earth System Research Infrastructure (RI), called DATA TERRA. The RI DATA TERRA appears on the roadmap of the research infrastructures of the (French) Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (Research Infrastructure Roadmap 2018, Edition 2, pdf link). The National Biodiversity Data Cluster (PNDB) will work in strong collaboration with DATA TERRA and its four data clusters.