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Q: With this proposed budget, will my buoy deployment be supported? 

A: No. GLOS will be unable to financially support  buoy deployments. 


Q: With this proposed budget, will I be able to access data on Seagull? 

A: Some. Historical data and model forecasts will be available. Streaming data is dependent on our ability to support buoys in the water. At this proposed budget level, GLOS would be unable to ensure proper maintenance and continued upkeep of Seagull. 


Q: Will I be able to get help from GLOS with questions I have? 

A: Probably not. There is a chance that such a significant decrease in core funding would lead GLOS to reduce personnel, hampering our ability to answer questions effectively. 


Q: Will GLOS still provide data management services at the proposed budget level?

A: Yes and no. Data that is already connected to Seagull will receive the automated QA/QC tests, but any new data will not be accommodated. Furthermore, Seagull maintenance will be suspended, which will also affect data management capabilities.  


Q: I have a contract with GLOS; how will this be impacted?

A: GLOS will communicate with all partners under contract to discuss status and prospect for renewal of contracts for FY2025.

Re: Seagull

Q: How much does it cost to use Seagull?

A: Nothing! Seagull is completely free to all users. However, if you are looking to set up a particular display on your own Seagull URL, contact us to set up a Nested Seagull.


Q: Do I need an account to use Seagull?

A: Nope! You are able to access Seagull and all of the information within Seagull without signing up.


Q: If it’s free then why should I create an account?

A: Creating an account on Seagull allows you access to a number of additional features, including abilities to favorite buoys, set and receive SMS alerts, configure parameter display, and easily download data.


Q: Why is this buoy unavailable?

A: Buoys can stop sending information for a number of reasons (extra large waves, violent winds, signal interruption or a problem with a sensor). 


Q: Why was this buoy retrieved?

A: Buoys may be retrieved for maintenance or replacement reasons, but if you are looking at a specific buoy between October and March, odds are it is on winter vacation. Most Great Lakes buoys are pulled from the water in the cold months because of the unfavorable conditions, including ice. Brrrr!

Other Q’s and A’s:

Does Seagull have an API?

We have two main ways to access GLOS Seagull platform data via API or API-like service:


Seagull ERDDAP


  • Look for your dataset on Seagull either through the map, clicking on the platform, and clicking on Dive Deeper in the bottom left of the panel that’s revealed.
  • OR click on Console in the upper left of Seagull, and click on the Platform Name from which you want API access to.
  • Look in the URL bar. For instance 45029 at Port Sheldon:
  • The number at the end of the URL is what you’ll use to find the data in ERDDAP. From the front page of Seagull ERDDAP, search in the upper right corner for “obs_[number]” or per the example, “obs_3”
  • Find the platform you want in the list of results.
  • Feel free to explore the links within the target row, but for the purposes here, click on the data link in the target row.
  • You’ll find a form to fill out for the platform’s parameters you want. At the bottom of the form there’s a drop down from which you can select the output you desire.
  • You can then click “Just generate the URL” for the URL you’d use to download the data in your format. (To better understand the format, click Submit and view the downloaded data.)
  • From there, you can modify the URL for time range, for example, acting as an API to the data you want.


Seagull API

For a platform like Port Sheldon, you’ll want to use the ‘obs_dataset_id’ as you did for ERDDAP to navigate. In this example, it’s 3. This won’t be an exhaustive guide on the API, but it should be enough to get started. Under Observation Datasets:


  • /api/v1/obs-dataset-summaries provides summary information on a platform, including its obs_dataset_id, associated platform_id, which is how its parameters are associated, a list of parameters, and more
  • /api/v1/obs-datasets provides similar output to the summaries, without parameter and other information.
  • /api/v1/obs-datasets.geojson provides a GeoJSON layer with the locations of available platforms on Seagull.
  • /api/v1/obs-datasets/{obsDatasetId}/metadata provides metadata for a platform. For example: /api/v1/obs-datasets/3/metadata
  • /api/v1/obs provides observations for a platform. For example: The result is a massive JSON object shaped like:
[ {
  "obs_dataset_id": 3,
  "parameters": [
      "observations": [
          "latitude": 42.899572,
          "longitude": -86.272291,
          "timestamp": "2022-08-12T18:40:00+00:00",
          "value": 3
      "parameter_id": 178


where the information the parameter_id can be found in /api/v1/parameters


Please feel free to reach out with any questions to

Does GLOS charge for access to data?

No, access to Great Lakes data and information is free through GLOS.

There could be circumstances where an organization has customized data management needs, atypical data access requirements, or other features requiring engineering development work by GLOS. In those situations, GLOS may charge a cost-recovery fee to help offset expenses to support these requirements.

Access to the new information technology platform is made possible through funding from the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) program and other donor funds.

How does data currently get from platforms to your servers? How will Seagull do this?

Currently, most of the buoys in our network use cellular telemetry, while a few use satellite telemetry. However, the path data takes from sensor to our servers really varies. Many buoys send data directly from their datalogger to our server, while others have an in-between server that translates the data and sends it to us.

On our current systems, we ingest the data from the buoys through FTP. Each data provider has their own FTP account that they can use to send the data in a GLOS-required XML format.

However, for Seagull, we developed a completely new architecture to allow the data providers to send data to us using other secure protocols like HTTPs in flexible formats like JSON. Though not preferable, we will be also support our current FTP/XML protocol in 2022, just in case the data providers are unable to send data to us through a secure protocol.

If you have flexibility to select a data logger, we recommend selecting one that is capable of transmitting data over secure protocols like HTTPs. If not, there is also an option to send data, not directly from the datalogger but from a local server, if that is more practical for your system.

When will older GLOS apps stop working?

We will decommission our legacy apps as core functionality is built into Seagull or when that app is no longer needed by the observing community.

After Seagull launched on April 28, 2022, in late April or Early May, we shut down GL Buoys, the HABs Portal, and our THREDDS server.

Please reach out to us with any concerns or questions.

If you can’t find the answers to your questions, fill out this form to ask our team directly.


4840 S. State Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48108