Entries by Sage Lichtenwalner

Undergraduates Discover New Ways of Exploring the Ocean… With Data

Silke Severmann, associate professor in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, teaches the introductory course in oceanography at Rutgers. Her role in this first-year seminar is to introduce students to the application of technologies used in ocean observing systems. She helps undergraduates understand the relationships among the biological, physical, chemical and geological features of […]

A workaround for a common error on NDBC DODS

I’ve long touted the advantages of using NDBC data for introducing students to programming and data analysis, with an oceanographically focused dataset. In particular, their DODS Server makes it fairly easy to access decades of data from hundreds of stations using the xarray library and a few lines of code in Python. Apparently, people have been listening. […]

EPE Data Investigations Archive

Back in the early days of the OOI, I was part of a small team of designers and developers who were tasked with building tools to support undergraduate education. Our vision consisted of an OOI Ocean Education Portal that included an integrated, and arguably cutting-edge, suite of tools. This Education Cyberinfrastructure included a Data Visualization Builder, Concept […]

Ocean Data Labs looks back at 2020

Last year was a tumultuous one for the history books, to put it mildly. And while many of us already trying to forget the year that was 2020, the Ocean Data Labs community actually has a lot to be proud of. Of course, from an educational perspective, the biggest disruption of the past year was […]

My ooilab Python Toolbox

Data portals are great for navigating and finding useful datasets. But sometimes, the easiest way to access data is with a bit of code, especially when you want to make your own graphs or do a bit of custom processing (like the above example). For about 3 years, I’ve been using Python notebooks to grab […]


Introduction to Python – Argo Float Data

This summer, as part of our virtual REU workshop, we introduced students to the basics of using Python to analyze oceanographic data. When we frantically designed the course back in May (during the early even more frantic days of the pandemic), we originally intended to introduce students to data from both NDBC moorings and Argo profilers.  In […]

Storytelling with Ocean Data

Storytelling with data is a popular topic. In fact, one of the most cited papers in Data Vis, Segel and Heer’s 2010 Narrative Visualization: Telling Stories with Data, just celebrated its 10th anniversary and was awarded IEEE’s Test of Time award. That paper cataloged many of the visualization styles being used by the NYTimes and […]


Introduction to Python – Data Analysis

Weather is something we all experience. Which is why you’ll often find weather-related data used in data analysis courses. Of course, as oceanographers, weather data is far more relevant to our research goals, but it’s also useful to start with more accessible weather or “ocean weather” related examples, as those will be more familiar with […]

Introduction to Python – Part 2

Teaching students how to visualize ocean data is a challenge. But before you get into cognitive theory, choosing colors, or the the principles of (good) visualization design, you really just need to get your students’ feet wet plotting some data. This summer, as part our Virtual REU 2-week mini-workshop, we challenged students to work in groups […]


How to Share and Run Python Notebooks

Python notebooks are a wonderful tool for sharing and collaborating on code. Built on the open-source backbone of the Python programming language, JupyterLab notebooks (their formal name) allow you to include code, text, formulas and images all in a single sharable file. What’s more, the ecosystem for sharing and running these files has expanded over […]


Introduction to Python – Part 1

We now live in an ocean of data. And of course, that is literally true for those of us who study the ocean. We’ve come a long way from the early days of oceanography, when scientists like Nansen, Ekman, and Bjerknes might collect a few dozen data points while on a ship, or from their […]