Thursday, 15 November 2018 08:20

Satellite start-up Myriota teams up with AIMS in oceans study

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AIMS technician Andreas Klein-Miloslavich testing a drifter from the research vessel Apollo in waters off the Great Barrier Reef. AIMS technician Andreas Klein-Miloslavich testing a drifter from the research vessel Apollo in waters off the Great Barrier Reef. Supplied

South Australian satellite start-up Myriota has teamed up with the Australian Institute of Marine Science to deploy marine drifters with satellite-connected sensors that can track currents, sea surface water temperature and barometric pressure of the ocean in real time.

A statement from Myriota said the custom sensors would record about 160 bytes each day, including location. This would then be transmitted by Myriota to AIMS' data centre using low-earth orbiting satellites.

Myriota chief executive and co-founder Dr Alex Grant said AIMS was the first organisation to use the sensors for oceanographic tracking.

The South Australia-based Myriota has in the past teamed up with the University of New England and the Australia and New Zealand CRC for Spatial Information to carry out trials of low-cost livestock water tank level monitoring.

“Previously, oceanographic drifter satellite communications for organisations like AIMS have been cost prohibitive, but our Direct to Orbit technology has allowed AIMS to trial robust and cost effective tracking and data collection,” Dr Grant said.

aims drifter

A diagram of an AIMS drifter. Below, right: Myriota co-founders Dr David Haley and Dr Alex Grant.

myriota foundersAIMS tech development team leader Melanie Olsen said the project showed how a cost-effective option existed for obtaining new insights about the oceans.

“Our drifters are now fitted with the next generation of satellite technology, so they can beam data from remote Australian waters back to base in near-real time,” she said.

“The low-cost drifters will enable us to scale up projects on demand, be sustainable and flexible. Because they connect to LEO satellites, they avoid issues like coverage dropouts and connectivity issues that come from using traditional mobile phone networks.”

In future, such devices would enable AIMS to obtain oceanographic information hourly from any location, providing scientists with data essential to understanding the behaviour and changes in oceans.

Olsen said AIMS was excited to implement innovative Internet of Things applications to better connect, collect and exchange data.

“Data is an essential tool if we are to understand how our oceans behave. We need to bring every tool to bear if we are to protect one of our nation’s most precious natural assets, our marine environment,” she said.

Myriota pioneered the Global Sensor Network at UniSA, and AIMS first began testing the devices on its Research Vessel Cape Ferguson in early 2017.

 

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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