Get started with the oceanexplorer


The World Ocean Atlas (WOA) of the US agency NOAA contains high-resolution and high-quality data for oceanographic variables, such as temperature, salinity and nutrients. This package facilitates easy access and exploration of this data, and targets three different audiences:

In this document I will explain the basic use cases of all three application types. But first a word on the back-end of this R package. This package heavily relies on geospatial data analysis facilitated by sf (Pebesma 2022a) for vectors and stars (Pebesma 2022b) for raster data (i.e., the native NOAA data format). I highly recommend reading the accompanying documentation of these packages if you intend to work with the NOAA datasets:

Shiny app

The shiny app is hosted by Utrecht University and can be found here: The app allows exploration of the NOAA database and selected data can be extracted as a csv file.

Load NOAA data

The initial screen starts at the “parameter” tab of the left-most field which allows the selection of the oceanographic variable of interest.

The following document lists the technical details of the variable collection and presentation: NOAA World Ocean Atlas 2018 Product Documentation. The papers on this page give in-depth information on the variable of interest:

Clicking the “load data” button extracts the data from the NOAA WOA database. This operation can take some time.

Filter NOAA data

The last action also automatically drops us in the “locations” tab (in the left most field), which allows us to select specific regions on the now displayed world map of the variable of interest.

Locations tab (Left)

This field allows filtering of the dataset.

Map tab (right)

This field allows changing visual aspects of the NOAA data. In addition the plot is interactive and can be clicked (single click). It is therefore possible to only use the right-hand side of the screen to select your data without touching any of the buttons and menus on the left-side.

Extract NOAA data

Now that you have filtered the data you required you can view the results in a table by clicking on the “table” tab on the right side of the screen.