UVic Torch -- Spring 2004
Spring 2004,
Volume 26, Number 1

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Networking NEPTUNE

Networking NEPTUNE
How to build an underwater lab: NEPTUNE will use tools similar to these. The arsenal will include autonomous vehicles with a range of up to 10 km, responding to events like volcanic eruptions. Rovers will prowl the ocean floor, perform experiments, connect and disconnect sensors and execute repairs. Mobile cameras and lights will produce high-definition images, delivered to shore at lightning speed thru fibre-optic cable.

VANCOUVER ISLAND RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES have formed an umbrella group—Ocean Innovation Systems Inc.—to provide local support to NEPTUNE and expertise in instrumentation, sub-sea electronics and software.

It would be nice to have more work at home,” says Paul Lacroix, BSc ’76, president of OISI. “There’s been nothing to talk about locally, nothing to organize around for many years.”

Most of the companies were formed in the late ’70s and early ’80s but have been working almost exclusively in the US and overseas. The group includes ASL Environmental Sciences, an ocean modelling and surveying firm; Axys Technologies, builders of environmental instruments and weather buoys; Barrodale Computing Services, specializing in large datasets; Highland Technologies, operator of research submersibles; and Quester Tangent, which specializes in acoustic signal processing and control systems.

When the observatory is operating, the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, on Little Saanich Mountain will store NEPTUNE’s massive data output. The federal lab already archives data from the Hubble Space Telescope.

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