11-13 Oct 2016 Brest (France)

Session 2:Interoperability standards for the marine environment


Kenneth G. Foote, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Woods Hole, USA

Eric Delory, Consorcio para la Construcción, Equipamiento y Explotación de la Plataforma Oceánica de Canarias (PLOCAN), Gran Canaria, Spain

Tom O’Reilly, Monterey Bay Aquarium research Institute (MBARI), Moss Landing, USA


Interoperability refers to a state in which devices, sensors, and software can operate on more than one platform.  It implies a generic standard that transcends a particular manufacture.  In the ocean sciences, especially involving underwater networks or systems of sensors, interoperability enables a sensor plugged into a data port to be recognized automatically, so that the physical act of connection also effects the necessary device recognition.  Data communication can then commence with the plug-in.

The importance of interoperability in the marine environment is well appreciated by the NeXt generation Ocean Sensors (NeXOS) research programme; PUCK (Programmable Underwater Connector with Knowledge, i.e., memory) protocols; and the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society (OES) Interoperability Standards Initiative for the Marine Environment, among other projects and initiatives.  At the same time, major ocean observatories are operating or being constructed without an interoperability capability.  What might be saved in engineering time incurs a significant penalty in operations, risk, and general inflexibility with underwater connections.

 It is the principal goal of the thematic session, “Interoperability standards for the marine environment,” to convene a group of experts and other interested parties to summarize and review the state of the art in interoperability standards: to share current knowledge with ocean engineers and managers who are charged with the design of future ocean networks and observatories.

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