Scripps homepage

About the Client
The Scripps Institution of Oceanography's (SIO) mission is to seek, teach, and communicate scientific understanding of the oceans, atmosphere, Earth, and other planets for the benefit of society and the environment. Scripps Ship Operations & Marine Technical Support manages SIO's fleet of academic research vessels, one of the largest in the world. These vessels play a critical role in exploring the planet and conducting important research in all the world’s oceans.

Project Overview:
The SIO ships website aims to simplify the educational research, planning and tracking associated with marine research via cruise ships and crew members. Historically, chief scientists needed to contact various admins and technicians individually. Tracking a cruise’s progression was difficult because of the multiple channels and personnel involved in this process. It was also a challenge to maintain the right level of security and clearance for legal documents as this information was being shared via email during the planning stages. Therefore, SIO needed a ships website to accomplish the following research fundamentals:

  • Managing Teams
  • Transparent Documentation and Releases
  • Efficient Communication via the Website
  • Assigning Resources & Equipment
  • Planning & Tracking Events
  • Managing Research Data
Why Drupal was chosen: 

Drupal has a very flexible and scalable modular system and by leveraging the contributed modules of Drupal the SIO ships site simplified the cruise planning and tracking process while also allowing all relevant personnel to stay up-to-date with cruise activity.

Describe the project (goals, requirements and outcome): 

Project Requirements:
The primary requirements of the site were as follows:

  • A robust and scalable web application
  • User-friendly interface
  • User management of researchers, administrators, facilitators and team members
  • Administration & tracking of planning materials (i.e. members, legal forms, plans and equipment requests)
  • Consistent architecture to their other Drupal sites for site management ease
  • Usability within low bandwidth environments such as research vessels
  • Extensive security and strict permissions of content
  • Digitalization of the entire paper process for ease of tracking, planning and management

Given the power and flexibility of Drupal’s module system, the SIO website has become a robust and scalable web application. The site has simplified SIO’s needs to provide an efficient higher educational research cruise that minimizes the stress and time associated with organizing paperwork, equipment and personnel. The value brought to SIO has been the piece of mind knowing they can regain focus on what they do best, accomplishing a successful informative research mission.

Organizations involved: 
Why these modules/theme/distribution were chosen: 

Managing Teams (Organic Groups & Heartbeat)- Organic Groups is the backbone for managing teams on the website. Individual crew members and administrators can be assigned to a cruise. More importantly, all research data and information regarding the actual cruise itself is stored and available for crew members. Utilizing the Heartbeat module SIO admins and staff have a dashboard that shows both cruise and site activity.

Transparent Documentation and Releases (File Management, Roles, Permissions, Profile2) - There are numerous legal documents that must be signed and in good standing before a research cruise even embarks. Historically, managing these documents was a challenge; documents were faxed and filed manually which became cumbersome to regulate under quick deadlines. However, by utilizing Drupal’s file management, roles and permissions modules crew members can E-sign the documents which saves a lot of time. More importantly, because these documents are governed by Profile2 and Drupal permissions, they are legally binding.

Strong communication via the Website (Organic Groups, Messaging, Notifications)- It is extremely important to maintain good communication when working within groups of different job specialities. In the case of SIO, this becomes increasingly more difficult when you have 40 different cruises a year with 20-crew members assigned to each cruise. Therefore, the Organic Groups commenting system stored quick communication updates for specific cruises. Furthermore, a built-in form was developed that could directly email all cruise members within a specific cruise.

Assigning Resources & Equipment (SOLR Search, Rules & Views) - The management and allocation of educational research equipment can be one of the more stressful activities. In order to even gather data for your research project you need to locate, maintain and guard limited and expensive equipment. Without a clear and up-to-date system, equipment can quickly become difficult to procure. Utilizing the Rules module crew members and administrators are notified when equipment is requested and approved by technicians and chief scientists. Furthermore, utilizing the SOLR Search module enabled crew members to see a full list of equipment and other pertinent information associated with that specific equipment item. The Views module then enables technicians to have a list of all equipment requests in order to manage the needs, tracking, and documentation necessary for each request.

User Dashboard
Admin Dashboard