Keeping track of marine research in real time

03.03.2017 20:44
Kategorie: News

Online portal for Wave Glider missions launched

Wave Glider missions can now be viewed online – and they are live. Operated by the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Wave Gliders are measurement platforms propelled by wave power. They drift for weeks or even months on the ocean surface, surveying it. An online portal called GEOMAR Navigator has been set up to showcase their journeys, velocities and the latest data they collect from the ocean.

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The oceans are vast. Surveying them and collecting data on their current state is therefore an mammoth task. Increasingly, we are using remote-controlled and pre-programmed devices to accomplish this feat. The Wave Glider is one such device. Equipped with various sensors, these surfboard-like devices float on the ocean surface for weeks or months, propelled by waves.

Currently, three Wave Gliders are in operation, their missions being managed by GEOMAR. Those interested can follow them live at GEOMAR Navigator ( For its debut, the missions of two Wave Gliders at a seamount near the Cape Verde Islands are available online at

The Wave Gliders' courses, velocities and past journeys can be viewed at the portal, together with weather information, data collected by their sensors and the background information of their research missions. “The platform was primarily developed to enable those who are in charge of a Wave Glider mission to check mission parameters from their office, from their sofa at home or from a hotel room”, explained Patrick Leibold, who had developed the GEOMAR Navigator while working as a programmer in the GEOMAR technology transfer working group.

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In the end, however, anyone who is interested in the missions of our instruments can use the portal,” added Dr Warner Brückmann, GEOMAR's Head of Technology Transfer. The two Wave Gliders are part of an expedition involving the German research vessel MARIA S. MERIAN. Using a suite of different instruments, the research team will strive to learn more about the ecosystem around the Senghor Seamount, an underwater mountain north of the Cape Verde Island of Sal.

The impetus for the portal and the funds were provided as part of a cooperation between GEOMAR and the state of Oman. The Wave Glider will soon be used to survey for groundwater discharge on the seabed near the coast. “It is the aim of the project to better understand freshwater systems in the subsurface of coastal regions. For Oman, such an understanding is vital. Freshwater is a very scarce resource there, and a key factor for livelyhood. Mistakes in freshwater management might pose a threat to this resource,” explained Dr Brückman.