Management of marine data with the PANGAEA information system

Hannes.Grobe [ at ]


To use the scientific resource of marine data effectively the information system PANGAEA was developed. The system guarantees longtime storage of the data in consistent formats and provides easy access for the scientific community via World Wide Web or a system specific client software with high functionality. The system is able to store data together with raw data, evaluated data and all related meta-information necessary for their understanding. The system provides standardized import and export routines, easy access with uniform retrieval functions, and tools for the visualization of data. The system is designed as a network with client/server technology providing access and data exchange through the Internet.The great variety of parameters, methods, calibrations and interpretations used in paleoenvironmental reconstruction, as well as the modification of established methods, are major obstacles to the integrative use of data sets in a common system. The challenge of managing these heterogenic and dynamic data was met in PANGAEA through a highly flexible data model consisting of a relational data structure in combination with specialized server software generating an object-oriented view of the data.The simplified data structure reflects the standard processing steps for paleo-data. Lists including standardized meta-information are connected to the main data fields: different projects working in the field of paleoceanography carry out expeditions for sampling. During a cruise at a number of locations different samples may be taken or measurements made. At distinct points/intervals the medium to be investigated (e.g. sediment, water or ice) is subsampled or measured for different requirements. From each sample one or more analytical data points will be produced which can be found on the DATA level, with the related meta-information. The combination of the DATA, 'Parameter' and 'Method' fields is the essential part of the model, which allows the definition and storage of new, unique parameters by the user at any time. The middleware allows the user to retrieve complex data matrices, e.g. time slices.The main server runs SYBASE as the database management software. The client software for access to the server was written in 4th Dimension (ACI); the WWW-client software is written in JAVA. 4D provides tools for the design of a graphical user interface and allows optional compilation of the front end software code for the different operating systems found in personal computers (MacintoshOS, Windows).For the geographical presentation of data the tool PanMap was developed, which is either directly connected to the database front end or can be used as a stand-alone application. PanMap can be called directly by the user to draw sampling sites in a geographical context after selecting the required data set by the retrieval tool. Sites can be labelled with meta-data as well as analytical data. The PanPlot tool has a similar link to the database as PanMap and allows the user to plot data versus depth or time. The software is avialable on

Item Type
Conference (Talk)
Peer revision
Not peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Event Details
EPILOG workshop, Delmenhorst, Germany.05.-06.051999..
Eprint ID
Cite as
Diepenbroek, M. and Grobe, H. (1999): Management of marine data with the PANGAEA information system , EPILOG workshop, Delmenhorst, Germany.05.-06.051999. .


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