Digital Ocean Launches Ireland’s First Undersea Observatory

P. Heffernan, Mininster Creed, and A. Boyle with the Cathx Digital Ocean.
PHeffernan Mininster Creed ABoyle Cathx - Digital Ocean

By Olivia O’Mahony, Editorial Assistant
August / September 2016

Ireland’s first undersea observatory was launched in June as part of an event for the Digital Ocean, a data resource of the Irish Marine Institute. The Digital Ocean represents Ireland’s opportunity to establish itself as a leading innovator in marine data for research, economic improvement, and social growth. The new SmartBay observatory is located in Galway Bay, near Spiddal. Researchers expect it to boost the productivity levels of Ireland’s national marine infrastructure.

At a two-day marine conference in July, Galway businessman John Kileen drew attention to the legacy of Ireland’s “blue” economy and praised the project, saying its contributions would offer “plenty of opportunity to see how life works at sea.”

The observatory will feed data directly from the ocean floor to the surface, enhancing field experts’ understanding of the ocean, weather patterns, climate change, and the reactions of man-made products with the world’s water supply. It will also provide a testing space for business enterprises based in marine space, such as Cathx Ocean, the Co. Kildare-based maker of the submarine camera and lighting system which was instrumental in the discovery of the Titanic site, and Technology from Ideas, a Galway company that runs tests on their mooring devices to enhance the reliability and durability at different depth levels.

The technology has already been implemented off the coast of Galway to monitor the movements of whales and other deep sea creatures without disturbing their natural habitat with excessive light and sound. ♦

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