Access to marine data is crucially important for marine research and is a key question for various studies, from predicting climate change to offshore engineering.

The European project SeaDataNet/SeaDataCloud "Pan-European Infrastructure for Ocean and marine data management" for which Ifremer is the coordinator, was launched on 1st April 2006. It is an Integrated Infrastructure Initiative for research (I3) of the FP6, which is intended to develop a data management structure adapted to archiving and exploiting enormous sets of data collected by the oceanographic fleets and the new oceanographic observation systems that are operational in European waters.

The project involves 49 partners from 35 countries of Europe and the Mediterranean and European, American and Canadian scientific advisers. It is built around 40 marine data management platforms approved for transnational access (national oceanographic data centres and satellite data centres), as well as four scientific modelling centres, three international organisations and two associate organisations to enable the preparation of data products and ensure compliance with the standards and procedures used. This partnership is the largest partnership coordinated by Ifremer and one of the largest in France.

The principle of SeaDataNet is to network the 40 existing National Data Centres, to develop a virtual data centre providing data, metadata, products and services from these interoperable platforms in a standardised and integrated form, via a single portal. This development process involves adopting common communication standards based on ISO standards for geo-catalogues, quality control of data according to a common procedure, compatibility, and lastly, the use of the most appropriate communication technology.

The first part of this project (SeaDataNet I) ended in 2010. The second part (SeaDataNet II) was conducted between 2011 and 2015. The third part (SeaDataCloud) began in November 2016.