Last modified 3 years ago Last modified on 2017-01-06 15:18:18


COMPASS is the CMG data management tool and interface.

COMPASS was designed to help groups keep track of their data. Our group has always had good record keeping, so we have a "special" path through COMPASS. Our platforms are complex and usually have several instruments on each. Our record keeping and in-file metadata allow us to track which sensor was on which platform. Other groups don't do this, so they do book-keeping within COMPASS and might select "Environmental data, temperature", then select "YSI" for the instrument- we really don't need to go to this level of detail, and can just say we collect "time series" data. It isn't intended as a classification and discovery tool, it's more about what data is where?

It is also where field activities must be entered prior to doing field work. The COMPASS field activity (FA) records follow the data through processing and publication. The good news is that COMPASS is closely linked to CMGDS (the Coastal and Marine Geology Data System), which provides complimentary data search capabilities to Sciencebase (the USGS catalog of data). By having our entries done consistently, we can have all our experiments show up in a data type search by "time series". This is a local win, but doesn't replace other methods of discovery.

The COMPASS record can become the template from which a FGDC entry is made for Sciencebase. We don't do this at this point because our data is "released" on stellwagen instead of Sciencebase. Our system predates sciencebase, but adding metadata there that points to our data might be a good idea in future.

Here are some things we can do when starting the records that will make them easier to work with later.

  • you have to be on the TIC network to access COMPASS (, login to the Woods Hole portal)
  • for programs with multiple field activities, all can be initiated by copying from an existing one. This pre-populates from the selections of the initial FA, saving time and clicking; usually you just need to reset the dates.
    • do this by logging into the WH part of COMPASS; select initiate Field activity; then enter the previous FA.
    • all FAs entries for a program subsequent to the original one can be set to "no data collected", as long as no data has been entered yet. This technique is the work-around for our data, Since our data is collected between field activities. Most of the rest of CMG collects data during Field Activities.
  • Important for us is that there needs to be an entry in "What data will be collected?" that is "time series" and then choose "bottom platform". This will allow the eventual data to be found in CMGDS.
    • you can also select "current" or other types, but they're redundant for us, so don't bother.
  • it won't let you start a FA without saying navigation data will be collected. Even though our data is not "navigation", select something reasonably appropriate.
  • don't ever choose "other" for the sensor or kind of data. It takes longer and requires the compass-keeper (John O'Malley for us) to make a new entry in that category. We don't need to differentiate between bottom platform, Mooring, pole mount in compass, it's in our metadata.
  • after all the data is collected, I or someone else goes and modifies the initial FA, section on data collection to say the data was processed, reviewed, published, and add the link to the URL of the experiment page. When this step is done, then the experiment shows up in CMGDS searches by "time-series". Look at a recent experiment for an example, if you need to do it.
    • to edit the FA later on, say to add data, go to "Enter Post Field Activity Information", and go from there.