Real-Time Digital Buoy Tracking and Mapping System
Real-Time, Scalable Tracking
Cost-efficient and low-maintenance digital buoy system provides real-time mapping data. To address this need, the Digital Buoy System enables a distributed network for real-time tracking and monitoring of buoys — even in areas lacking cell-tower coverage. With Digital Buoy, a node is mounted on each physical buoy that records, computes, and reports the buoy’s location and motion data. Each node receives and transmits the data of the neighboring nodes in a peer-to-peer fashion, alleviating the need for costly communication towers. Storing these data in cloud services enables operational and geospatial analyses and for accurate charts/maps of the buoys to be published over the Internet.
This low-cost, low-power, and low-maintenance system is designed to significantly reduce buoy-tendering operational costs and provide enhanced marine navigation to U.S. private and public industries. No other competing technologies offer the scalability and reliability that this Digital Buoy System provides.
- Real time: This automated map-updating system can push low-bandwidth communication (text messages, small files, charts, etc.) to provide real-time alerts to boats and ships.
- Low maintenance: A “set it and forget it” technology, the Digital Buoy System is energy efficient and can run on a set of alkaline batteries for weeks, months, or even years, while existing technologies rely on big batteries or a continuous power source with a short replacement time.
- Cost efficient: The system leverages government R&D to achieve very low material cost. Expected implementation and operation cost is minimal.
- Low power: The Digital Buoy System consumes power at the milliwatt level (compared with wireless local area networks in the home or office that draw watts of power).
- Flexible and scalable: Buoys can be added or subtracted after the system is installed. New features/data can easily be added via a program update.
- Long range: While current wireless local area networks offer a range of 30 meters, Digital Buoy’s robust wireless mesh network offers a range of more than 1,000 meters (more than half a mile) between nodes.
- Less network infrastructure: The Digital Buoy System’s use of a wireless mesh network bypasses the need for the expensive infrastructure (e.g., cell towers) used by existing methods to monitor and track buoys.
The Digital Buoy System can benefit many programs within federal, state, and local government agencies as well as commercial vessels of marine navigation and transportation industries, waterway-related business, public, and private vessels. Applications include:
- Remote monitoring and tracking of marine navigation buoys
- Virtual placement of synthetic markers for hard-to-reach areas and emergencies (toxic spills, dam/levee breaks, re-routing local traffic, etc.)
- Perimeter beacons for electronic fencing of dangerous and hazardous marine terrain
- Identification and monitoring of marine traffic
- Marine navigation without GPS or in GPS-denied environment
- Low-bandwidth data communication for waterways
- Remote pushing emergency chart updates and urgent notices to local marine traffic
- Researcher support in hydrology and hydrodynamics
- Platform for the services and products of marine/environmental industries
- Land-based navigation