The Wireless Open Water Logger (WOWL) Project is a NOAA-funded effort by Creare LLC, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center. The goal is to enable large-scale opportunistic ocean sampling by developing a low-cost, reliable, and open-source ocean temperature and depth logger.
Changes in ocean temperature have a profound impact on the productivity of fisheries and aquaculture. Sampling offshore ocean temperatures, particularly at depth, is challenging and expensive. Opportunistic sampling from fishing gear can address this sampling need. Commercial fishermen are more and more aware of the correlations between water temperature and harvest.
Existing programs, such as Environmental Monitoring on Lobster Traps (EMOLT, a collaboration between NOAA and the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation), have capitalized on this on a small (but ever increasing) basis. These data are already contributing to our understanding of links between temperature and catch. Expanding these programs is hindered by the high cost of sensor nodes and the need for integrating data-transmission hardware with the host ship. A simpler and less expensive approach is needed.
The WOWL is designed to inexpensive, rugged, and easy to use. The WOWL integrates with users’ smartphones (via Bluetooth Low Energy and a free application), eliminating the need for dedicated hardware to retrieve and upload data. No ship integration is necessary.
Our vision for the future is that data are geo-tagged by the smartphone and then uploaded to an existing, cloud-based, and publicly-accessible data repository. The data can be accessed via standard, open data formats (e.g., CSV text files) from both the mobile application and the cloud repository. Data will be visualized as soon as it is uploaded via WeatherCitizen or via open online visualization toolkits.