If you want to measure ocean waves, a technology powered by the sun and accessible through a smartphone app is delivering excellent results. Research published in the June issue of the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology describes the performance data for “Spotter,” a real-time wave measurement buoy.
Authored by Kaustubha Raghukumar, Ph.D., Grace Chang, Ph.D., Frank Spada, and Craig Jones, Ph.D., of Integral Consulting, and colleagues Tim Janssen and Andrew Gans, the journal article presents results of testing of the Spotter wave buoy.
Field testing took place in Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay, California, and in Waimanalo Bay, Hawaii. During each of these tests, multiple Spotters were deployed alongside established technologies that served as control measurements against which Spotter data quality is evaluated. Results show that the Spotter buoy’s wave measurements have excellent fidelity and lend a high degree of confidence in data quality.
Information in the article was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), under Award Number DE-AR0000514.
While GPS technology to measure waves and currents has been demonstrated for more than a decade, the Spotter is the first commercial product that leverages recent advances in low-cost microcontrollers, data acquisition and storage systems, satellite communications, solar technology, and motion sensors. Because of its ease of deployment, usability, low cost, and data quality, Spotter is a powerful wave measurement platform.
Developed in conjunction with Sandia National Laboratories, the low-cost wave measurement buoy can be used for spatially diverse wave measurements. These types of measurements have real world applications such as the design of offshore structures, dispersion of floating objects, and optimization of wave energy device controls.
Raghukumar, K., G. Chang, F. Spada, C. Jones, T. Janssen, and A. Gans. 2019. Performance characteristics of “Spotter,” a newly developed real-time wave measurement buoy. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol. 36(6):1127-1141.