The Chukchi Sea Environmental Studies Program (CSESP) started 2008, beginning directly after Lease Sale 193 (MMS, 2008). A joint effort between ConocoPhillips and Shell, including Statoil from 2010-2013, the program offers a multidisciplinary, multiyear approach to understanding the Arctic ecosystems of the northeastern Chukchi Sea though environmental baseline data collection in support of oil and gas exploration and permitting.

Seven years of program data amounts to terabytes of zeroes and ones in many scientific disciplines. This paper focuses on the organization, storage, and distribution methods used for CSESP data, with an emphasis on metadata creation and preparation for public release.

Data organization begins on vessels with strict, standardized data capture methodologies and continues with well-defined longer-term data storage processes on shore. Scientific observations, final results, vessel instrument data, weather data, acoustic sound files, and photos are all part of the CSESP data universe. Documentation and metadata are crucial to keeping that universe intact and accessible, now and years down the road.

In 2011, CSESP sponsors signed a data sharing agreement with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). All datasets are submitted to NOAA for public archiving and access via the internet. The CSESP data were already well organized and documented, but public data sharing required a new level of effort to consolidate information from final reports, individual documents, and existing metadata into comprehensive metadata complying with the US Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) standard (FGDC, 1998).

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