ARGUS, harvesting depth data the ambitious way!
The concept is pretty sensational: The ARGUS (Autonomous Remote Global Underwater Surveillance) system would equip volunteer vessels with a custom WiFi transceiver that is connected to the nav system for GPS and depth, and that can automatically upload the resulting data files (when possible) to a shore server where it’s collated and quality controlled before being turned over to NOAA so it can better manage its dredging and charting responsibilities. If it all works out as hoped, the volunteers might even get the equipment for free and be able to use the WiFi connection for their own Internet needs…
ARGUS is the brainchild of engineering firm Survice, and has its own informative Web site here. The project was also recently covered in Yachting by my colleague Jason Woods. And the hardware is being built by Wave WiFi based on its heavy duty EC series. ARGUS is looking for volunteers both to test the vessel gear and to set up/maintain shore network bases, and I imagine the most desirable sites/users will be in the vicinity of major dredged waterways, as that’s the issue NOAA is definitely looking for help with.
But the fact is that NOAA needs lots of help. The HSRP report you can download here states that at NOAA’s current rate it will take 166 years to properly survey even just the areas routinely transited by commercial vessels! I’m sure that many of you, like me, would be willing to help collect data, and don’t even need compensation if the process is reasonably easy. Come to think of it, the ARGUS technology could also do tracking and security duties that many of us might happily pay for. At any rate, I hope it goes well.
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