Lowell Instruments’ IoT Fishing System Closes Temperature Data Gap

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Lowell Instruments LLC announces partnership with NOAA Fisheries to deploy an Internet of Things fishing system to help fill the bottom water temperature data gap.

Lowell Instruments, LLC has partnered with NOAA Fisheries and the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation to develop the On Deck Data System to monitor bottom water temperatures. Now entering its second year of a pilot program, the Internet of Things (IoT) system couples a wireless temperature and depth data logger with a touchscreen hub and data satellite system. The bottom temperature and depth readings are transmitted to the cloud where they can be publicly accessed and incorporated into computer models. Researchers and fishers alike are increasingly using these models to make informed decisions about many commercially important species.

“We have been waiting for this technology to come along…and it has finally arrived,” said James Manning, Oceanographer at NOAA Fisheries in Woods Hole. Manning worked closely with Lowell Instruments to help develop the automated monitoring solution, the On Deck Data System. The “smart” system allows gear orientation, temperature and depth data to be collected by fishers without any additional labor. “While dozens of fishermen have been collecting hourly bottom temperatures for us over the last few decades, they only saw their data after it was downloaded and plotted at the end of the year. Now they can see the observations as soon as they haul their gear,” said Manning.

Unlike surface water temperature data that can be collected in real-time by satellites, very little bottom water temperature data is collected in real-time. Computer models can’t perform well without sufficient bottom temperature data to be initialized and validated. The On Deck Data System can address that data gap. Designed for both fixed and mobile gear fishing, the systems have been deployed on trawlers and lobster boats with the first use by long-liners expected this spring. Fishers have been very interested in working with the systems. “They can now see how [the data] relates to both climatology and multiple ocean model estimates,” Manning said.

“The IoT system could lead to a substantial increase in the understanding of what is happening on the bottom of many critical benthic habitats due to climate change,” said Nick Lowell, Founder and President of Lowell Instruments, “and collaborating with fishers makes data collection affordable and brings researchers and fishers together.”

The On Deck Data System consists of a Deck Data Hub and an OTD Logger. The OTD Logger is a durable instrument with a 0.1 C accurate temperature sensor, 250 meter depth pressure sensor, 3 axis accelerometer, 3 axis magnetometer, microSD flash memory card, rechargeable battery, and Bluetooth Low Energy Radio. The logger transfers data to the Deck Data Hub when the logger is above water. Multiple OTD Loggers can be used with a single Deck Data Hub for a cost-effective and comprehensive solution for fixed gear fishing, such as lobster traps and crab pots. The Deck Data Hub displays the temperature and depth data automatically for review by fishers. Once the data is in the Deck Data Hub, it is archived locally and a copy is sent via Wi-Fi, cellular or satellite transmission to servers in the cloud where it can be accessed by researchers.

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Nick Lowell
since: 12/2014
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