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User Roles and User Persona

User Role

The term role refers to an aggregation of responsibilities and authorities that a user may fulfill when interacting with the system. One user, most likely one of the OOI personas, may fill many roles in the system, concurrently or over time.

User Persona

In contrast to the User Roles described above, the term persona refers to a stereotypical user of the system, such as "university professor". Such a persona may fill many roles in the system concurrently or over time.

Historical material described above emphasized persona to a greater degree than roles. The OOI User Persona captures a stage of the User Persona development process; these persona may be further modified according to research from User Experience activities.

OOI Integrated Observatory Network Roles

As described in the OOI Operations Overview, there are multiple categories of users of the OOI, and many roles within each category. Early analyses (see References CI-RUA, CI-PERS) developed initial user categories and personas, and the categories have been decomposed further into roles to reflect the specific activities performed across the OOI.

While this analysis has considerable detail, it is subject to further verification through User Experience interviews and requirements analysis.

ION Release 2 Default Roles

The table below lists the default roles that ION Release 2 defines.

All roles are within the scope of one Org only, e.g. one Marine IO. No roles except for the ION_MANAGER span the entire system. The system is a federation of independent Orgs.
Org Type Role Name (internal) Role Name (User) Permissions Comments
All Orgs ORG_MANAGER Facility Administrator Can administer users within an Org and grant membership and role requests  
All Orgs ORG_MEMBER   Can view resources within an Org  
Marine Facilities OBSERVATORY_OPERATOR Facility Manager Can define observatory sites and future deployments and can set devices to DEPLOYED state  
Marine Facilities INSTRUMENT_OPERATOR Facility Operator Can view detailed resource state and can acquire an instrument and platform device  
Marine Facilities DATA_OPERATOR Facility Data Operator Can make changes to data products  
  ION_MANAGER   ION superuser  

The permissions that an Org role grants can be extended by explicit resource acquisitions. This means that a user can explicitly request the use of a resource (e.g. an instrument or platform device), or can be invited to use a resource. Only then can the user effect actual changes in the resource, e.g. control it via agent commands.

See Also:

User Role Categories

The main categories of users identified through analyses are:

The OOI User roles have been described in a vocabulary that is described as an ontology on MMI's Ontology Repository. In the above list, each term is linked to its entry in that repository.

Further decomposition of these categories (below) yields significant information about their roles, relationships, and shared activities.


Each of the above categories is analyzed in more detail in the sections below. The categories are:

  • Dev: Responsible for OOI development activities
  • Ops: Responsible for OOI operations activities
  • Use: Active user of OOI resources

A large X indicates a strong role, and a small x a less significant role.

OOI User Roles by Category


User Role Dev Ops Use Description
Principal Investigator (PI)
Responsible for grant and project decisions. Brings scientific resources into the ION, such as instruments and computational facilities.
OOI Project Scientist
X X A senior scientist, with a high degree of operational responsibility for science execution

Data Professionals

User Role Dev Ops Use Description
Data Modeler X x   Formulates frameworks for representing data in the Integrated Observatory Network
Archivist/Curator X X X Determines and provides assurance for policies and procedures for ION data assets
Data Integrator x X X Brings data from outside sources into OOI, transforming its form as appropriate
Data Analyst
x X Looks at scientific (or other) data, possibly transforming them, to gain knowledge
Numerical Modeler   x
X Looks at scientific (or other) data, with the intent of assimilating them to compute environmental model nowcasts and forecasts. A Data Analyst subrole


User Role Dev Ops Use Description
Project Engineer X X X Architect of project solutions with senior oversight and coordination responsibilities
Instrument Provider X X x Individual that provides and prepares an instrument for use on the observatory on behalf of the instrument owner (OOI or PI)
Instrument Technician X X X Acts on behalf of OOI to perform many instrument life cycle activities, directly involving the instrument and its deployment on a platform
Mission Safety and Security x X x Ensures operations are not compromised by untoward events
System Architect X
    Translates the project requirements and visions into designs for system components and services to be build, with a clear articulation of their interfaces and dependencies
Application Developer X x   Creates software to implement Integrated Observatory Network functionality (services and components)
Process Developer   x X
Develops data transformation, event detection and visualization software to be executed by ION on real-time observatory data streams
Agent Developer
x X Develops specific instrument, data source and resource agents and drivers, to adapt external resources to the Integrated Observatory Network
Integration Engineer
  Integrates and tests individual software components into installable quality increments of the Integrated Observatory Network
Test Engineer
Tests a software or hardware component of the OOI against specification by following a test procedure
Network Engineer X
Sets up and monitors the Integrated Observatory Network's networking components
Deployment Engineer X
Sets up and monitors the Integrated Observatory Network's software components

Operations Professionals

User Role Dev Ops Use Description
Program Manager X X x Directs the work of a major component of the program (i.e., an Implementing Organization)
Observatory Manager
Directs the activities of the one of the marine and cyber components of the OOI
Integrated Observatory Operator x X X Oversees the activities of the Integrated Observatory Network, monitors its resources and defines ION policy
ION Facility Administrator   x
X Administers an OOI Facility, e.g., a PI-Classroom Team, and defines its policy
Data Operator
Oversees the data sources registered with the ION and the data sets, data products and data catalogs.
Marine Observatory Operator x X X Oversees the activities of a major marine component of the OOI (a marine IO or observing system), monitors its resources and defines its policy
Instrument Operator   x X Operates one or more instruments through the ION; usually a Marine Observatory Operator sub-role
Platform Operator   X X Operates one or more platforms through marine observatory systems and ION; usually a Marine Observatory Operator sub-role
Mobile Platform Operator   x
X Operates one or more mobile platform through marine observatory systems and ION; usually a Platform Operator sub-role
Logistic Coordinator   X x Provides logistical support and oversight for observatory and mission activities
Mission Planner x X X Creates, approves, and executes plans for observing missions (any scale)
Scheduler   X X Creates and executes detailed schedules and mission plans to accomplish larger mission plans
Helpdesk Supervisor
Directs the work of the user helpdesk team and its systems. Resolves or dispatches ION user issues

Educational Professionals

User Role Dev Ops Use Description
Developer of Educational Materials     X Creates lesson plans, curricula, or material to teach a specific topic
Teacher x   X Educates students in classroom setting (or equivalent)
Digital Librarian x   X Recommends best practices from digital library community; references OOI data
Docent     X Presents material on environmental (ocean) science in museum, aquarium, or similar

General Public

User Role Dev Ops Use Description
Scientific Public     X Members of the public who are not scientists, but have a strong science interest and perspective
Outreach material providers x x X Developers of materials explaining and educating about the OOI, its features, and its use
Students (K-16)     x Classroom participants using the system at the direction of Teachers
Lay Public (Everyone else)     X Members of the public who are not scientifically oriented

Administrative Users and External Stakeholders

User Role Dev Ops Use Description
Policy Maker x
x X Decision-maker (including staff) in the oceanographic and government agencies
Instrument Vendor x x   Commercial entity that sells an instrument to OOI for installation on the observatory
Instrument Owner x
Organization (such as OOI) or individual (such as a PI) that owns an instrument that is operating within the Integrated Observatory Network and defines use constraints.
Data Provider   x
Organization (such as IOOS) or individual (such as a PI) that owns a data set and provides it to OOI for one time or repeated ingestion and defines use constraints



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