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The MDL website has been migrated to the NOAA Virtual Lab (VLab). This page can now be found at: Your browser will automatically be redirected to this page in 15 seconds. Please update any bookmarks that you might have.


The Virtual Laboratory (VLab) is a service and IT framework, being built out by OSTI and lead by MDL/DSB, which enables NOAA employees and their partners to share ideas, collaborate, engage in software development, and conduct applied research. The VLab will enable NOAA to:

  • Reduce the time and cost of transitions of NWS field innovations to enterprise operations,
  • Minimize redundancy and leverage complementary, yet physically separated, skillsets,
  • Forge scientific and technical solutions based on a broad, diverse consensus, and
  • Promote an NWS culture based on collaboration and trust



The VLab operates under the following set of guiding principles:

  • Transparency - The VLab and its staff are open and transparent in all communications and decision-making
  • Teamwork - The VLab and its staff facilitate and support collaborative teamwork
  • Flexibility - The VLab and its staff adapt to different and/or changing user needs
  • Responsiveness - The VLab and its staff respond quickly to user needs
  • Accountability - The VLab and its staff are accountable to its users through meaningful metrics


Metadata or 'the documentation of data'; serves the purpose of making data discoverable, usable and understandable. A variety of metadata standards and formats have been developed over time to support data discovery and data documentation.

NOAA's directives for metadata, as part of its data documentation plan, include NOAA Administrative Order 212-15 and NOAA's Environmental Data Management Committee's (EDMC) Data Documentation Planning Directive. The Data Documentation directive "establishes ISO 19115 Parts 1 and 2 and a recommended representation standard (ISO 19139) for documenting NOAA's environmental data and information."

In the future the VLCS will include portlets that will allow users to "Share their projects" and "Share their expertise". This sharing will increase visibility and transparency of projects and users' expertise promoting collaboration.







VLab Demonstration Recordings:

Demonstration Video and VLab Introductory Slides (188 KB PowerPoint File) used during Steve Smith's part of the demonstration.


VLab Forum

The VLab hosts a monthly forum to discuss topics relevant to collaboration and the development and conduct of applied research. To learn more about the forum and view past presentations, visit the VLab Forum Page.