The OceanExplorer


Features and Tips

Download OceanExplorer!!

The OceanExplorer is a Microsoft Excel© workbook designed especially for Classroom BATS. It contains four default worksheets: BATSData, HydroStation S, Profiler, and TimeSeries.

The BATSData and HydroStation S worksheets provide selected oceanographic data from these long-term ocean monitoring programs, along with software tools that help you to analyze and graph these data.  Profiler and TimeSeries each provide a place and the tools needed to draw your own depth profiles and time-series plots. You can use the Profiler and TimeSeries worksheets to help assess learners´ preconceptions concerning ocean properties and behavior. Unfamiliar terms and concepts in the OceanExplorer are explained and illustrated by way of hyperlinks to appropriate multimedia resources on this web site.

You add your own unique worksheets and charts to OceanExplorer as you select, analyze, and graph the data. You can save these objects within the OceanExplorer workbook, copy them to other Excel workbooks, and/or print them to post in your classroom.


OceanExplorer currently runs on the Windows operating system. To run OceanExplorer under Windows, you'll need to be running Microsoft Excel version 8.0 or later. The  "macros" feature of Excel must be enabled.  To obtain full benefit from OceanExplorer, you should be familiar with the basic features and operation of Excel. (Return to top)

Features and Tips

Excel´s autofilter buttons are one of the powerful features of the OceanExplorer. These buttons allow you to select a subset of BATS data to analyze. For example, you can use the Autofilter buttons in the Year, Month, Cruise, and Cast columns of the BATSData worksheet to select the data collected in August, 1989 during BATS Cruise 11, Cast 2. The Custom Autofilter option allows you to define and extract a range of data, such as all data collected between 100-500 meters deep. The "Top Ten" choice in the autofilter drop-down menu is typically inappropriate for use with OceanExplorer data.

If you are interested in exploring how an ocean property such as temperature changes with depth during a single moment in time, you should use the autofilter buttons to extract data from a single BATS cruise. You can then use the OceanExplorer´s "Depth Profile" toolbar to create a graph that shows how that ocean property varies with depth.

If you are interested in exploring how an ocean property changes through time, you can use the autofilter buttons to select a time series of data from many BATS cruises. For instance, you could autofilter sea-surface-temperature data from all monthly BATS cruises between 1988 and 1997 by using the Custom autofilter button in the depth column to select data from water depths greater than 0 meters deep (the surface) but less than 10 meters deep. You could then extract these data and use the temperature button on the OceanExplorer´s "Time Series" toolbar to create a time-series plot that shows how the temperature of the sea surface varied from month to month during that 9-year period.

Excel´s autofilter buttons (dark triangles) allow you to select and graph a subset of the BATS data.


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The OceanExplorer´s comments feature provides useful information about the various data parameters contained in the OceanExplorer Excel workbook. To view the comments in OceanExplorer, simply move your cursor above a cell that contains a red triangle in the upper right-hand corner.


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Extracting the Data
Once you have autofiltered a subset of data from the BATSData worksheet, click the "Extract Filtered Data" button to automatically copy and paste the filtered data to a new worksheet. If you click the  "Extract Filtered Data" button before autofiltering the data, OceanExplorer will copy and paste all the data in the BATSData worksheet. There is little reason to do this, and moreover, doing so will take a considerable amount of time.   (Return to top)

Graphing the data
Once you have autofiltered and extracted a subset of data from the BATSData worksheet, OceanExplorer copies the data to a new worksheet and automatically opens the DepthProfile and TimeSeries toolbars. To graph a particular data parameter, click a button on the appropriate toolbar. OceanExplorer will automatically create a graph that you can move, re-size, copy, paste, and print at will.. To add another data parameter to your graph, click the "Add Data" button at the bottom of the toolbar.

OceanExplorer´s "DepthProfile" toolbar works best with data from a single BATS cruise. The  "Time Series" toolbar works best with data collected during multiple BATS cruises. See Autofiltering for help on selecting data from individual BATS cruises or from a series of BATS cruises.

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For help on using the features available within the OceanExplorer environment, click the on-screen buttons or select Help from the Excel menu bar. Help is provided via  Excel´s Office Assistant.

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Unfamiliar terms and concepts in the OceanExplorer are explained and illustrated by way of hyperlinks to appropriate multimedia resources on this web site. To activate these hyperlinks, simply click any cell whose contents appear in blue, underlined text in the OceanExplorer Excel workbook. (Return to top)

Much of the functionality of OceanExplorer is contained within its four customized floating toolbars. The Navigate toolbar allows you to move between OceanExplorer´s individual worksheets. The Plot Depth Profile toolbar allows you to automatically draw depth profiles from filtered subsets of data from individual BATS cruises, and the Plot Time Series toolbar allows you to automatically draw time series plots from filtered subsets of data collected on multiple BATS cruises. The Draw Tools toolbar helps you draw your own depth profiles and time series plots on the eponymous OceanExplorer worksheets.DepthProfileToolBar

DrawToolsBarThese customized toolbars are attached to OceanExplorer when you first download it. Thus the Navigate toolbar should automatically appear when OceanExplorer is opened, the Draw Tools toolbar should appear when you open the DepthProfiler and TimeSeries worksheets, and the Plot Depth Profile and Plot Time Series toolbars should open when you extract filtered data.

 To hide a custom toolbar manually, simply close it by clicking the X in its upper right-hand corner. To display a toolbar manually, select Toolbars from Excel´s View menu and click in the box to the left of  the desired toolbar name.  TimeSeriesToolBar