Technical Overview

Technical Architecture Diagram
The website at is the Northeast Ocean Data Working Group’s primary tool to serve customers and stakeholders in the ocean planning community. Users can launch interactive thematic maps, download data, and browse a directory of selected information products on other websites.

This page provides an overview of the technical architecture behind the website. A broader, non-technical overview of Northeast Ocean Data is also available.

Data Sources

We build and share data products according to their demand by customer input and by their availability. In some cases, we are able to connect our users and applications to existing external web services. In other cases, we need to digitize and integrate source material to create new data products. Most of our product development and integration efforts are conducted by scientists and analysts working together on their desktops using tools such as MatLab and ArcGIS. Original development is done using a local projection such as the UTM 18 or 19. Each data set is documented using the FGDC CSDGM specification and published as a file from our website.

Technical Architecture

Our system is based on an n-tier design. This includes three main components: (1) our storage tier, which principally includes Amazon S3 hardware, (2) our application tier, which is driven by a large (4 CPU) Amazon machine instance and ArcGIS Server Enterprise, and (3) our presentation tier, composed of JavaScript map clients.

Map Services

Many of our customer needs can be grouped into thematic areas such as maritime commerce, fisheries, energy, or marine life. We organize our data products by these theme areas and publish them using web map services. These map services are hosted on our cloud account and are used to populate our various map viewers. All our maps are displayed as layers on top of base maps hosted by either Esri or NOAA.


The Northeast Ocean Data website is built with WordPress as its framework and content management system (CMS). The interactive maps from our map services are incorporated into a WordPress wrapper for display on the site. Content and maps are developed and revised on our development site and then pushed to our staging site when completed and to the production site for public release.

Workflow for Data Products

When a data set is completed and ready for distribution, that “feature class” is converted to the Web Mercator projection, cartographically rendered, and included in a map service file. The file is then transferred to our S3 storage tier and to the application host. Using ArcGIS Server administrative tools, the service is then configured and engaged to publish dynamically rendered images using a REST-based web services protocol.

Northeast Ocean Data provides data and maps for the Northeast Ocean Plan.