‘Glosapalooza’ celebrates data and how it benefits users of the Great Lakes

Picture of Jennifer Boehme
Jennifer Boehme
IJC
June 14, 2022
map bathymetry great lakes

The Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS) works to reimagine how everyone from anglers to water treatment plant managers can use data to gain insight into issues facing the basin. In April, GLOS co-hosted a Glosapalooza in Chicago, where participants could catch up with observers of all sorts, see the latest in technologies, and learn what to expect for Great Lakes data, monitoring and data mapping in the coming year.

The program included live and remote participants. It began with a Code Sprint hackathon-style event, co-sponsored with the US Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Program Office, which brought together developers, researchers and community members to address technical challenges to information production and communication. GLOS is one of 11 regions that make up the IOSS, part of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

An all-day symposium on Building the Great Map also was co-hosted with Northwestern Michigan College, part of the Lakebed 2030 conference series, with a focus on bathymetric technology in the Great Lakes. A series of expert panelists outlined the need for binational bathymetric information to support detailed and consistent data maps of the entire Great Lakes basin.

Less than 15 percent of lakefloor in the basin has been mapped using high-density data collection techniques. Glosapalooza sessions at the Chicago Yacht Club included discussions on funding and priorities for mapping the Great Lakes, underwater technologies that might support such an effort and approaches to transitioning data into insights. The day also included live demonstrations of innovative mapping vehicles and technologies on the yacht club docks.

The GLOS Annual Meeting at the Navy Pier brought the week to a close. The morning included the GLOS Board meeting with CEO Kelli Paige, followed by a message from US Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan. As part of the meeting, IOOS Program Office Director Carl Gouldman and Mid-Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing System Executive Director Gerhard Kuska provided an overview of the program, and Todd Nettesheim of the US Environmental Protection Agency described the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and its goals for restoring and protecting the ecosystem.

A deep dive into implementing the GLOS Smart Great Lakes Initiative (SGLi) was provided by Mary-Claire Buell of Collective Environmental Consulting in Ontario on efforts to ensure Indigenous community priorities are equitably incorporated as part of SGLi.

David Burden, director of the IJC’s Great Lakes Regional Office, participated remotely, presenting the results of the Science Advisory Board’s work on the IJC’s Great Lakes Science Strategy, which aims to guide science-based investment to protect Great Lakes ecosystem health and grow the region’s economy.

Dr. Michael Twiss of the IJC’s Great Lakes Science Advisory Board spoke on how a new REASON Project aims to demonstrate the utility of using water quality instrumentation in dams on major rivers. This work illustrates how deploying smart infrastructure in the Great Lakes region can help achieve the goals of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, which aims “to develop programs, practices and technology necessary for a better understanding of the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem.” Leveraging emerging technologies to improve scientific understanding can directly contribute to more effective management and policy decisions.

The week wrapped with the launch of Seagull, a cloud-based platform for Great Lakes data and information including lake temperature, waves, currents and water quality.

seagull glos

Examples of data searches using Seagull. Credit: Great Lakes Observing System

Picture of Jennifer Boehme
Jennifer Boehme
IJC

Jennifer Boehme is a senior environmental scientist at the IJC’s Great Lakes Regional Office and serves as chair of the GLOS Board.