NATO Works with Globalstar Europe on IoT System to Monitor Oceans
Tuesday, December 11, 2018 | Comments

Globalstar Europe Satellite Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar, announced that scientists from the NATO’s Science and Technology Organization are deploying an internet of things (IoT) solution using SPOT Trace and Globalstar satellite communications to further their understanding of the world’s oceans.

Research teams from the NATO STO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE), in La Spezia, Italy, are embedding low-cost SPOT Trace devices in freely drifting buoys and setting them afloat in the Mediterranean and in Arctic waters to monitor surface drift behavior. SPOT Trace tracks the movement of these ‘drifters’ and transmits their position data over Globalstar’s low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite network.

The CMRE carries out oceanography and ocean acoustics studies as part of innovative and field-tested science and technology (S&T) solutions to address defense and security needs of the NATO Alliance. The data is helping CMRE to measure and understand sea currents with the aim of better understanding the changing sea environment and to inform NATO operational planning.

The research examines horizontal motion in the sea and how surface properties are transported deeper into the water column. This will lead to a greater understanding of changes in maritime characterizations such as temperature change, acoustic propagation, and the movement of biogeochemical properties (e.g. phytoplankton) and pollutants such as plastic.

Buoys are fitted with a small SPOT Trace device, which includes an integrated GPS receiver, simplex transponder and motion sensor. Thanks to Globalstar’s fast-moving LEO spacecraft and SPOT Trace’s long battery life, research teams benefit from high frequency sampling, up to every five minutes, and more precise, granular tracking than has been possible with other solutions.

NATO STO CMRE is conducting several studies in parallel. One, sponsored by the US Office of Naval Research, is using SPOT Trace-equipped drifters to conduct oceanographic studies in the Alboran Sea in the Mediterranean, between the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa. In addition, CMRE’s own studies of drift movement in the seas of the Arctic will see buoys deployed in the Barents Sea, and further into Arctic waters, in mid-2019.

Thousands of SPOT Trace units are used for oceanography studies around the globe. These include the University of Oldenburg’s work monitoring plastic debris in the North Sea and Spain’s coastal authority, Salvamento Maritimo, using SPOT Trace to devise oil spill disaster recovery procedures.

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