A buoy revolutionized to meet new ocean data needs.
By Ariella Knight
Five years ago, Nick Daws and his team at Fastwave, an Australian maritime data company, found themselves scratching their heads. Why was it, they wondered, that the majority of data on our oceans comes from academic or military research operations, when the number (and diversity) of organizations relying on ocean data is greater than ever before? With the need for ocean data rising across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, traditional research operations — with their sky high price tags, lengthy processes, and data confidentiality restrictions — were particularly ill-suited to meet new needs.
With ten plus years working to provide data to private companies for oil and gas exploration, governments on search and rescue operations, and the nonprofit sector on tracking maritime trash and oil spills, Daws — a Business Development Lead at Fastwave — understood better than most that “in the longer term, there would be more and more need for ocean data beyond research purposes.” The rapidly increasing demand for ocean data in large quantities, in near real time, and at affordable rates cannot be met with the traditional, thousands-of-dollars, month-long, manned research operations of the past. Fastwave set out to develop a new process and toolkit for acquiring ocean data in this new era.
The tool they chose to revolutionize? None other than the stalwart ocean companion of ages past: the buoy.
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