The Australian-waters Earth Observation Phytoplankton-type products (AEsOP) project aims to establish an in situ database specifically for the calibration and validation of regional algorithms. The database is populated with datasets from the Australian Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) and other sources. Once fully populated, the database will include multiple coincident parameters such as HPLC pigments (including size fractionated pigments where available), pigment concentration and composition, absorption coefficients for phytoplankton (aph), non-algal or detrital material (ad), and CDOM (ag), total suspended mater (TSM), Secchi depth and processed data from radiometers, hydroscat, ac-9, ac-s and other instruments from 1997 to the present day.

Since February 2013 we have included 158 files of data to the AEsOP database. The data come from 67 field campaigns and are distributed by parameter and region as shown in the table below.

RegionNo. of campaignsNo. of TSS datasetsNo. of pigment datasetsNo. of ad datasetsNo. of ag datasetsNo. of aph datasets

* some of the samples were collected in Australian waters

All the data files include a meta-data header file which includes information about the field campaign and any relevant references to published work completed from the campaign.

The data sets are generally those submitted to the IMOS Bio-optical Data Archive (IBDA), however, where full spectral data has been submitted to the IBDA, we have extracted data at specific wavelengths for the AEsOP database, consistent with those wavelengths used in the NASA bio-Optical Marine Algorithm Dataset (NOMAD). Future work will add a link between the AEsOP data files and the IMOS data files so that any users who require the full spectral data will be able to access it with ease.

Close collaboration between the data processing and database design activities has ensured that the input data is formatted consistently and that the output data from database queries is in a simple and usable format for most users of the database. The input data files are saved in CSV format and the output files can also be saved to the user's computer as CSV formatted files.