Data Dictionaries

Instead of using long names for parameters you can assign an individual code from a data dictionary. This eliminates communication problems and eases data transfer. The codes translate into parameter descriptions that conform to standardised syntax and vocabulary and have a rich set of classification mappings available, with more under development.

OceanDataPortal uses the "BODC Parameter Dictionary".

The BODC Parameter Dictionary is a collection of controlled vocabularies for parameter management. The bodc.pngBODC Parameter Usage Vocabulary (8 MB) contains almost 19,000 terms that are designed to label data values. These have been systematically constructed using a semantic model.

Navigation through such a large number of parameters is a daunting task. To help with this, a 3-layer hierarchy of discovery keywords is provided. The top level is the SeaDataNet Parameter Disciplines, followed by the SeaDataNet Agreed Parameter Groups and the BODC Parameter Discovery Vocabulary.

All the above hot links deliver plain XML documents designed for machine processing and not human-readable display. The following are links to formatted versions of the vocabularies.


More information on the BODC Parameter Dictionary (which is also used by the SeaDataNet project)

More information on agreed codes and dictionaries are available at