UVic Torch -- Spring 2006
Spring 2006,
Volume 27, Number 1

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By MIKE MCNENEY


The VENUS project boots up, extending the Web to the depths of Saanich Inlet.

OCEAN SCIENTISTS—OR ANYONE ELSE WITH AN INTEREST in what lurks beneath the surface of Saanich Inlet—now have an Internet-age set of exploration tools at their disposal. VENUS, that’s the Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea seafloor observatory, powered-up in February. Live data now flows from instruments at the bottom of the inlet (west of Victoria Airport) to the university.

There are five components: an array of scientific instruments connected by underwater cables to a central node; fibre-optic cable linking the node to shore; a shore station providing power and two-way communications to the instruments; a data management, archive and distribution centre; and a network operations centre at UVic. There’s also a hydrophone array to monitor and track marine mammals, and a high-resolution digital camera.
To install the array, the main node was lowered 100 m to the bottom of the inlet, about 3 km from shore. The fibre optic/power cable was then deployed from a ship, attached to floats, and pulled to shore with the help of dive teams. Later, the instrument platform was lowered, not far from the node.

Real-time data, acoustics and imagery from Saanich Inlet are online at venus.uvic.ca

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