Smart Ocean™ Systems update: ONC on track for five new observatory sites along BC's coast
June 23, 2015


VICTORIA, B.C. - Now in its second year of funding, the Ocean Networks Canada Smart Ocean™ Systems initiative is making significant progress with plans to install new ocean monitoring stations along the British Columbia coast as far north as Prince Rupert.

Fig.1 – Map showing locations of sensors for public safety, marine safety and environment monitoring at ONC observatory sites, installed (solid symbols) and planned (open symbols), along the British Columbia coastline.

The first of five proposed community observatories is slated for installation this summer in Campbell River at the southern end of Discovery Passage. Work is also underway in three key Smart Ocean™ Systems focus areas—public safety, marine safety and environmental monitoring—to create data products that will inform coastal management and community decision-making.

Specialized instrumentation and infrastructure were purchased for all sites and the permit application processes for installing the systems are underway.

Connecting with coastal communities and stakeholders

Meetings are taking place with a wide variety of stakeholders from government, regional authorities, academia and coastal communities, including First Nations—to ensure that these unique observing systems meet the broadest possible range of user needs. These meetings help to inform ONC about existing science initiatives, stakeholder issues, and how community members might use the ocean data streaming in realtime via the Internet from their local waters.

An overarching advisory committee meets quarterly to share knowledge, provide guidance and set priorities for working groups responsible for coordinating installation activities.

Leading the way with new marine technologies

Major public safety installations began early in spring 2015 with a novel shore-based remote ocean sensing system located near Tofino, BC. The WERA NorthernRadar is a unique collaboration between ONC, ASL Environmental Sciences of Sidney, BC, Northern Radar of St. John’s NL and Helzel Messtechnik GmbH of Germany that aims to further strengthen Canada's leading technology in near-field tsunami detection.

Fig.2 – One of 16 antennas in the near-field tsunami alert installation (WERA NorthernRAdar) overlooking the Pacific Ocean near Tofino, on Vancouver Island.

Additional shore-based high frequency radar (CODAR) installations, designed to support marine safety assessments, are moving forward at several sites in the Strait of Georgia.

Launched in April 2014 with support from Western Economic Diversification, IBM Canada and others, Smart Ocean™ Systems leverages the successful technology and data delivery of two of the world’s most advanced cabled ocean observatories, NEPTUNE and VENUS.

“Smart Ocean™ Systems comprise unique ocean monitoring and data analytic solutions that support the “blue economy” by providing real time information for the sustainable use of the ocean.” ~ Kate Moran, President and CEO, Ocean Networks Canada

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