NATO deploys IoT satellite tracking devices to study marine currents

Scientists from the NATO Science & Technology Organization (NATO STO) are deploying an IoT solution using SPOT Trace tracking devices and Globalstar satellite communications to further their understanding of the world’s oceans.

Scientists from the NATO Science & Technology Organization (NATO STO) are deploying an IoT solution using SPOT Trace tracking devices and Globalstar satellite communications to further their understanding of the world’s oceans.

Research teams from the NATO STO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE), based in La Spezia, Italy, are embedding low-cost SPOT Trace devices in freely drifting buoys and setting them afloat in the Mediterranean and in Arctic waters to monitor surface drift behaviour. SPOT Trace tracks the movement of these ‘drifters’ and transmits their position data over Globalstar’s Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network.

The data is helping CMRE to measure and understand sea currents with the aim of gaining a deeper understanding of the changing sea environment and to inform NATO operational planning.

The research examines horizontal motion in the sea and how surface properties are transported deeper into the water column. This will lead to a greater understanding of variations in an number of factors including temperature change, acoustic propagation, and the movement of biogeochemical properties (e.g. phytoplankton) and pollutants such as plastic.

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