to answer your questions:
1) Are the Level 2 and level 3 files in the same HDF format I am used to getting from the NASA-EDG and MODIS Direct Broadcast providers?
they are indeed hdf format but in the same format as the past 7 years of seawifs data have been distributed. most hdf tools will handle these files but most users work with the freely distributed package called seadas that you can download at http://seadas.gsfc.nasa.gov
2) At present I use the level 2 MO(Y)DOCQC files for geolocation. Do you provide these files or equivilent?
this is not needed since the level-2 files that are available from us are fully navigable within seadas without the need for an additional file.
3) Can I get specific level 2 MODIS products equivalent or similar to such products as the MO(Y)D02CLB and MO(Y)D02CLA products available from the EDG or DAAC? Are they available via ftp or subscription?
the current suite of level-2 products that are being produced is not the full complement that was previously produced and distributed by the goddard daac but there is a process in place to expand the current product suite through community working group recommendations. the current products and a full description of the processing methodology can be found at: http://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/DOCS/modis_processing_overview.pdfhttp://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/ocformats.html
4) Do you offer the level 3 daily, 4-kilolometer, and parameter 26 (such as the MO(Y) 04MD26_chlor_a_2 or equivalent) via subscription or ftp - not requiring a manual order process? If so, please point me to the source.
all the level-3 files are available for ftp directly at:ftp://oceans.gsfc.nasa.gov/Aqua_SMI/
from that directory you can decide which time periods, which spatial resolution and which parameters you want. since the directory structure is fixed, you can automate the process from your end to retrieve the most recent data.
5) I have read past postings and see that other people are requesting that level 3 chl_a products be posted as soon as possible as opposed the present one week delay. I too would like to stress the need for near real-time products even though they do not fit the stringent quality controls. Perhaps you can post "preliminary" chl_a products that come with a disclaimer. Even though they do not meet the levels of accuracy that the one-week old products do, the data are still quite valuable for ocean monitoring as opposed to historical research.
i have to admit that i am really amazed that this is an issue because before we assumed the responsibility for producing the ocean products from aqua/modis came along, there were no such things as near real-time global modis data products available at all. i believe there were generally several days lapse between data acquisition and the availability of ANY data products. we are currently making the global data available for download either on the web, via ftp or through a subscription at full resolution (1 kilometer) within 3 to 4 hours after aquisition by the satellite. we are looking into the prospect of making a quick-look daily product but because of the nature of our data feed, there are most likely going to be holes in the product. anyway, it is something we will try to do.