The Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) Ocean System Test and Evaluation Program (OSTEP) is within CO-OPS Engineering Division. Its central component consists of a group of physical scientists and marine technicians at the CO-OPS Atlantic Regional Field Office in Chesapeake, VA. The team’s mission is to research, develop, and test new and improved oceanographic and meteorological measurement systems to ensure that CO-OPS users have access to the most up-to-date products and services and that long term observations are being made in the most accurate and efficient way possible. The team accomplishes its mission by conducting the following primary duties:
OSTEP projects rely on technical support from the Engineering Division’s Development Engineering Team (DET) for design and development of new measurement systems in preparation for laboratory and field testing. OSTEP and DET work closely together to accomplish the combined mission to research, develop, design, integrate, test, evaluate, and transition to operations new and improved oceanographic and meteorological measurement systems for CO-OPS’ 200+ water level stations, 20+ (Physical Oceanographic Real Time System (PORTS®) stations, and various water level and ocean current surveys/stations.
OSTEP/DDET team collaborates and communicates on a regular basis with other external entities both within and outside of NOAA (such as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Service, NOAA NWS Weather Forecast Offices, NOAA NESDIS, Office of Coast Survey, NOAA NMFS Chesapeake Bay Office, National Geodetic Survey, National Data Buoy Center, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, etc.) for the purpose of conducting joint or reimbursable projects, exchanging technical information, sharing data, and leveraging resources.