Applied Research and Development: Ocean Instrumentation

Applied Research and Development: Ocean Instrumentation

Modern ships and offshore production rigs are equipped with instrumentation that enables the monitoring of all activities from a central control room. Ocean observing systems provide real-time information about ocean conditions based on data from buoyed and cabled networks of sensors.

These systems are being increasingly deployed worldwide to support safety, security, sustainability and profitability of maritime pursuits. Technologists with a specialization in ocean instrumentation are therefore an integral part of the ocean industries workforce and need specialized knowledge and skills to install, operate and maintain ocean sensors and systems.

Smart Ocean Sensors

There is considerable interest in the ocean's user community to define a new class of standards-based ocean sensors. These sensors can be located and identified over the World Wide Web, demonstrate "Plug and Work" interoperability in the field and offer data that can be shared, processed and presented to end users across many disciplines and applications.

Ultimately these Smart Ocean Sensors will result in new and increased market potential for sensor manufacturers as well as reduced costs to the end user. The Smart Ocean Sensors Consortium has been formed by a group of ocean sensor manufacturers and end users with the collective vision of improving the reliability, utility and cost-effectiveness of ocean observing sensor networks through the adoption, development, and promotion of appropriate standard interfaces and protocols.

One of its primary objectives is the submission of an interoperable ocean sensor specification for adoption by the Open Geospatial Consortium and ultimately dissemination to the wider oceans community.

Smart Buoy Holyrood Arm

This project involves the design, integration and deployment of a meteorological and oceanographic buoy located in Holyrood harbor, adjacent to the Marine Institute's Holyrood Marine Base. A key element of the School of Ocean Technology research program in Ocean Instrumentation is the capability to test and monitor the performance of Ocean sensors in a real ocean environment that remains readily accessible to the researcher.

The buoy is located only a few hundred meters from shore and can easily be attended year round from the Holyrood Base by small craft. Additionally, research staff has direct access to monitor and control the instruments deployed on the buoy via a radio link connected to the Marine Institute network.

The buoy is equipped with an Axys Watchman 500, a powerful controller that is the heart of operational meteorological and Oceanographic buoys deployed around the world. The controller can be configured to support a variety of instrument payloads including Smart Ocean Sensors.

This capability will enable SOT to participate in an international Ocean Science Interoperability Experiment. In addition to supporting applied research in Ocean instrumentation, the buoy is also equipped with a marine weather station. Site specific weather conditions for Holyrood Arm are available to marine interests, including the Terra Nova Yacht Club, through the SmartBay website.