Smart buoy for coastal monitoring

Smart buoy for coastal monitoring

Solar-powered C-SMART buoy.

NIWA Instrument Systems is developing a surface buoy to collect real-time coastal data on such things as weather, currents, waves, and water conditions.

Dubbed ‘C–SMART’ (Coastal Scientific Monitoring And Real-time Telemetry), the buoy will gather, process, and transmit data from sensors both above and below water.

Smart buoys are not new, but most are large, cumbersome, and expensive to develop and support. C–SMART fills a gap for a cost-effective, flexible system that can be deployed and recovered by smallmedium sized vessels.

C–SMART’s modular design means it can be adapted to suit different needs. The applications are numerous, from current and wave monitoring for port operations, to environmental monitoring for shellfish farms.

The pilot model will be used to groundtruth satellite measurements of ocean colour in near-shore waters. Colour is determined by sediment, algae, and dissolved material in the water. Accurate maps of these will be used to track sediment discharge from rivers and algae levels for ocean productivity.

Sensors for monitoring waves, and current speed and direction will also be trialled.

The vision is to establish a network of buoys for long-term coastal monitoring programmes, supplementing NIWA’s extensive land-based networks for environmental modelling and forecasting.

C-SMART is expected to be commissioned by June 2007.

Research subject: Oceans