Thursday, July 29, 2010

Real-time Networked Coastal Erosion Monitoring System

A consortium comprising WFS Technologies, Swansea Metropolitan University and Valeport Ltd has delivered the world's first ad hoc distributed network of seabed sensors for measuring the effects of coastal erosion. Sensor data regarding the movement of seabed sediment is communicated in real time using WFS wireless through-water radio modems, initially to a surface buoy and then via a GSM link to a server for display over the internet.

Radio provides reliable wireless communications in complex subsea environments such as shallow water and in the surf zone, making it ideally suited to coastal erosion monitoring applications.

More than half of the world's population lives within 60km of a coastline zone. As changing global climate and rising sea levels speed up coastal erosion, researchers need to monitor what is happening beneath the surface of the sea. Understanding coastal erosion has typically been by observation and measurement of exposed coastal areas rather than using quantitative data. The estimation of these effects has left us with only partial picture of what is really happening.

Historically, placing seabed instrumentation in the coastal erosion zone has proved challenging.

Seabed located sensors can be deployed to gather data, but provide no real-time data visibility and so may be subject to failure or movement in the dynamic environment. Wired systems have been attempted, but the deployment of a buried cable from shallow-water, up the beach means a considerable investment for each monitoring node and is prone to failure. The use of radio based wireless technology to relay data provides a robust, reliable and low cost real-time data monitoring solution, permitting remedial action to protect the coastline to be taken at the earliest opportunity.

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1 comment:

Peter said...

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