An infrastructure for earth science data is emerging across the globe based on common data models and web services. As we evolve from custom file formats and web sites to standards-based web services and tools, data is becoming easier to distribute, find and retrieve, leaving more time for science. We describe recent advances that make it easier for ocean model providers to share their data, and for users to search, access, analyze and visualize ocean data using MATLAB® and Python®. These include a technique for modelers to create aggregated, Climate and Forecast (CF) metadata convention datasets from collections of non-standard Network Common Data Form (NetCDF) output files, the capability to remotely access data from CF-1.6-compliant NetCDF files using the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Sensor Observation Service (SOS), a metadata standard for unstructured grid model output (UGRID), and tools that utilize both CF and UGRID standards to allow interoperable data search, browse and access. We use examples from the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) Coastal and Ocean Modeling Testbed, a project in which modelers using both structured and unstructured grid model output needed to share their results, to compare their results with other models, and to compare models with observed data. The same techniques used here for ocean modeling output can be applied to atmospheric and climate model output, remote sensing data, digital terrain and bathymetric data.