• Ocean Mapping
  • Ocean Observing Systems
Newfoundland and Labrador Seabed Atlas

Understanding the impact of mobile gear on the seafloor and benthos requires, an understanding of the location and extent of benthic habitat features (seafloor characteristics, energy regime), the location and extent of benthic communities (flora/fauna) and the location and extent of pre-existing perturbation.

With support from the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation, the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development, CTec has compiled a web-accessible digital seabed atlas for Newfoundland and Labrador waters.

This atlas, compiled from existing data, serves as a baseline to guide more detailed analysis of the impact of mobile gear on the seafloor and benthos in Newfoundland and Labrador waters, and a foundation upon which to build additional layers of data and information.

For more information on this project visit the digital seabed atlas or please contact us.

Ocean Observing Systems

Ocean observing systems are sophisticated ocean monitoring systems based on networks of sensors and the data they generate. The goal of ocean observing systems is to improve access to data and information to improve decision-making by a broad range of public and private sector stakeholders.

Technologies to gather ocean data are varied. From surface buoys and cabled seabed networks, to satellite and airborne remote sensing, to ship-borne sensors and surveys, a flood of data is gathered each day.

Converting data to useful information is a key goal of a ocean observing system.

The Centre for Applied Ocean Technology's (CTec's) focus is on serving the information needs of individuals who work on the ocean or are responsible for marine operations. Our aim is to provide dynamic information that enhances safety, operational efficiency and situational awareness.

CTec has a strong track record in the design, implementation and operation of open architecture ocean observing systems.

We use readily available and emerging technologies that conform to international standards for interoperability and best serve the information requirements of science and commercial interests. Every ocean observing system  requirement is unique with different physical and environmental characteristics and different concerns.

We place pride in our ability to design and build in response to specific user needs.

SmartBay Automatic Identification System (AIS) - Vale Newfoundland and Labrador Limited

Situational awareness is a critical component of the SmartBay "Better Information - Better Decisions" logic. SmartBay has invested significant effort into introducing AIS technology to the fish haversters of Placentia Bay.

AIS enables vessels within radio range to automatically link and exchange critical operational data with each other and with authorities.

Vale Inco recognizes the important role that SmartBay is playing in support of industrial operations in Placentia Bay and also recognizes the importance of ensuring the safety of fish harvesters working in the challenging marine environment of Placentia Bay.

Accepting the challenge, Vale Inco has made an investment in SmartBay that will support expansion of the existing AIS program through instrumenting of additional Placentia Bay-based fishing vessels in the name of safety and operational efficiency.

For more information on this initiative please contact us.


SmartBay is a long-standing applied ocean observation system in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador.  The area represents a unique marine environment that has some of the highest oil tanker traffic in North America transiting sensitive spawning grounds for cod, snow crab and other species.

Placentia Bay is one of the foggiest places on earth, where the smallest fishing vessels and the largest ocean going tankers cross paths on a daily basis.

The vision of SmartBay is "to provide simple access by all stakeholders to data and information in support of effective management and sustainable development of coastal ocean areas and the safety and security of life at sea."

Accordingly, SmartBay has been implemented as a user-driven ocean observing system, serving the information needs of the users of Placentia Bay (including fishermen, the oil industry, marine transportation, recreation, municipalities and local residents) in support of better decision-making, whether that is from a safety, efficiency, policy or environmental perspective.CTec maintains a meteorological/oceanographic buoy located in Holyrood harbour, adjacent to the Marine Institute's Holyrood Marine Base. The Holyrood SmartBuoy is available to industry and academia for testing and performance monitoring ocean sensors in a real ocean environment.

Hence the motto: "Better Information - Better Decisions."

An important aspect of SmartBay is its spin-off effect in the local ocean technology sector. SmartBay provides a cost effective alternative for a product developer.

Rather than having to ramp up and deploy infrastructure to carry out testing, the developer is able to work in a turnkey testing environment. The SmartBay buoys and support infrastructure have been engineered with the size, power and data capacity to carry and support ‘project tenants.'

New products can tested in the actual harsh marine environment and test data can be collected and delivered to the developer. The ability for prospective buyers to observe and evaluate a new product in a real-world operational environment can be a valuable tool to the developer in securing early product acceptance.

In 2012 CTec signed a contract with the provincial and federal governments to expand the SmartBay concept to a number of 'SmartPorts' including Port aux Basques, Corner Brook, St. John's and Lewisporte.  Each SmartPort will entail a suite of technology and services to support precise navigation, the assumption being that larger and more numerous vessels will continue to test the limits of existing ports.  Since port expansion is exceedingly expensive, precise navigation is key to accommodating increasing numbers of larger vessels without compromising safety.

For more information on this initiative please contact us.