Operations, Management, and Information Programs

InformationTechnology Services

The Information Technology Services (ITS) group is composed of a team of System Administrators and a team of Systems Design specialists. The System Administrators are responsible for providing core IT support to PIFSC staff at the Dole Street facility and all satellite work sites. ITS system administrators maintain, monitor, and upgrade computer hardware, software, networking, communications, and related infrastructure and ensure compliance with growing IT security requirements. The ITS system design team is responsible for leading or assisting in the design and development of data systems to meet needs of users in all Center divisions and programs.

System Administrators

IT Servers
IT Servers

During 2007, IT administrators maintained and enhanced information and technology support for Center staff in the face of significant logistical challenges, including the continuing dispersal of scientists to work centers away from the Dole Street facility. The addition of new PIFSC offices at the Kapiolani Boulevard work site required expansion of networking capability and other onsite IT support there. In addition, IT staff spent significant effort identifying future IT requirements for NOAA's Pacific Regional Center at Ford Island. Several accomplishments of IT administrators in 2007 are noteworthy: Procurement and installation of a new 20kVA UPS in the Center's Dole Street computer room to provide additional protection of server and network equipment during electrical storms and other events causing power interruptions or surges. Upgrade of the Center's e-mail server and the VPN server to support increasing needs for secure remote access to information archives and computing resources. Enhancement of building and work site security at the Dole Street facility through the installation of a video surveillance and monitoring system and associated network support.

Completion of a comprehensive certification and accreditation of the PIFSC local area network in collaboration with NMFS CIO staff and contractors. Adjustments and enhancements were made to correct deficiencies identified in the audit. Provision of technical support for other Center IT needs, including evaluation and installation of new software for the Intranet bulletin board.

Systems Design Team

The ITS Systems Design Team (SDT) helps PIFSC and PIRO scientists, data managers and administrators complete their missions by designing and building cost effective, time-saving information management solutions. The SDT provides database design and management expertise, application development services, and project management support both within the Pacific Islands Region and on a cross-regional basis through partnerships with NOAA Fisheries' national Fisheries Information System.

InPort Launch Improves NOAA Fisheries Information Management

Management decisions by NOAA Fisheries and regional Councils typically require access to a complex array of fisheries statistics, stock assessments, background documents, and other information from Science Centers, Regional Offices, and other sources. One of the best ways to facilitate better decision making is to improve access to data and documents across the agency. A big step toward that goal was recently achieved by a team of information scientists at PIFSC with the development and launch of InPort, a comprehensive online metadata registry and information catalog.

Karen Sender and Janet Pappas, members of the ITS Systems Design Team, led a group of PIFSC data specialists and contractors in a project to build a Web-based application enabling the registration, organization, and publication of NOAA Fisheries metadata. Development of InPort was funded in part by the Fisheries Information System in the NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology.

The online Information Portal allows authorized users within each NOAA Fisheries work unit to register metadata describing fisheries statistics, research survey data, reference codes, technical reports, policy documents and other information. Descriptors and key elements in the metadata provide for cross-referencing and association of diverse information assets. After the entered metadata are verified, the local InPort “librarian” publishes them, making them available on the Web. Any person with a Web browser can then search the InPort metadata archives and retrieve metadata quickly.

After development and rigorous testing at PIFSC, the InPort software was recently installed in NOAA Fisheries headquarters in Silver Spring, MD. Data managers in several Science Centers and Regional Offices have been trained in use of InPort and have already entered basic metadata for fisheries-dependent information. As InPort is integrated into other business processes across the agency, more metadata will be assembled, organized, and registered. Wide adoption of InPort will provide significant benefits to NOAA Fisheries and our constituents.

In 2007, SDT staff made good progress on several key projects to improve scientific and administrative information systems at the Center. Among the notable accomplishments were the following:

  • Completed a PIFSC personnel database in 2007 that gives administrative staff and other authorized users ready access to current and timely staff information and reports. The underlying Oracle database also supports other Center applications such as purchasing, property accountability, and SIS online data service requests.
  • Migrated a PIFSC software/hardware database from MS-Access to Oracle to facilitate data entry and access from remote work sites and enable integration with the Center's property and purchasing systems. The Oracle database provides ITS with timely system security information. Other enhancements enable improved management of property inventories and custody and usage of equipment and software.
  • Continued to provide support for the Longline Observer Data System (LODS) used by the Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO) for critical monitoring of the Hawaii longline fishery. SDT designed a LODS user maintenance module and system enhancements to accommodate new observer requirements to collect marine mammal biological data. In 2007, a LODS Service Targets Agreement was adopted by PIFSC and PIRO that details the requirements for LODS system operation, service, and technical support.
  • Initiated a project to modernize the Hawaii Longline Logbook Data System. LLDS will integrate with LODS and other fisheries data systems.
  • Worked to standardize and automate production of quarterly and annual reports of fisheries data and help PIFSC staff access the data for scientific studies, fishery monitoring and reporting.
  • Continued to develop and support the InPort Metadata Catalog, the software tool now being used to inventory and document all PIFSC data holdings. Additional work was completed enabling the January 2008 migration of InPort to a server in the NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology, where it will support agency-wide metadata management.