Democratizing access to ocean observing technology

Hawaii, and 14 coastal states on U.S. mainland
Submitted by:
Brian Glazer
University of Hawaii
Project URLs:

Project Description

Technological advancements have exploded in the last decade and the costs of emerging electronic components have decreased. Many of these advancements have not yet been applied to the oceans, providing a timely opportunity to match highest priority marine science research questions with enabling techniques over unprecedented geochemically and biologically relevant spatial and temporal scales (thus empowering observationalists, modelers, and directly engaging public interest in oceanographic processes). Here, we apply emergent technologies to coastal biogeochemical processes on scales capable of exciting researchers and local citizens groups by targeting development of an affordable coastal observatory platform and affordable new sensors.

We have prioritized fundamental oceanographic research questions rooted in hypothesis-driven science that is poised to benefit from sensor, instrumentation, and technology transfer advancements and developments that can address the problems of an undersampled marine environment. This research will build upon a new, but proven, technology that uses open-source hardware components and custom software scripts that can be assembled, tested, deployed, and maintained by high school and undergraduate students, environmental management organizations, or the technologically-savvy citizen scientist, catalyzing interest in STEM fields. The work will improve, expand, and accelerate development and deployment of a low-cost wireless coastal observation platform, specifically scaling up to target parameters important for monitoring and assessing processes most applicable to public interest: coastal inundation, tidal variability, nuisance flooding, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, turbidity, and meteorological data. Deployments will focus upon the most robust affordable research-grade instruments and low-cost sensors to expand the network and engage a larger community base.

Key Successes

maintaining >200 sensors in 14 states, launched a startup, improving harmonic predicitons by 80%


software engineering
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