Ireland's Smartest Bay welcomes Volvo Ocean Race

IBM and the Marine Institute today (Friday 29th May) launched a specially designed web portal to provide the public with the latest information on weather, sea and tidal conditions in the Galway Bay area.

The web portal, which is an element of the SmartBay pilot project, has been developed as part of an ongoing collaboration between the IBM Centre of Excellence for Water Quality in Dublin and the Marine Institute in Galway.

The portal will undoubtedly be of great benefit to the large influx of mariners and seafarers expected to visit Galway over the two-week duration of the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Galway City from May 23rd to June 6th 2009. The public will be able to view real-time data feeds from the Volvo race organisation and the Green Dragon Team as well as web came images from locations around the Bay. These features, combined with the latest tidal, wave and weather data, will give the general public valuable information in terms of sailing conditions in the Bay, which will be of particular interest during the in-port racing part of the stopover in Galway Bay scheduled for Saturday, May 30th.

Commenting on the research project, Robert McCarthy - Innovative Solutions Manager, IBM Ireland - said, "We look forward to further developments with the Marine Institute of SmartBay into a pioneering technological tool for the advancement of marine science, environmental resource management and smarter businesses related to the maritime sector."

The Marine Institute, Ireland's national agency for marine research, technology, development and innovation, is working with other agencies, including the EPA, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA to promote SmartBay as a research, test and demonstration platform for new marine and environmental technologies.

In line with the government's objectives of developing the SMART ECONOMY, the Marine Institute and its partners are exploring opportunities for indigenous Irish companies and Irish-based multinationals to work with research teams to develop and roll out SMART sensing and communications technologies. These technologies, which are capable of remote sampling and analysis over extended periods, are essentially the building blocks of an "environmental nervous system" comprised of many distributed sensing devices that share their data in real-time over the web.

 As part of the SmartBay initiative, the Marine Institute has already deployed a number of marine monitoring platforms in Galway Bay which collect data on the marine environment. This data is transmitted in real-time for processing and analysis and is displayed in the SmartBay web portal. This portal can easily be customised to facilitate a broad range of users with different requirements and interests, such as; fishermen, harbourmasters, sailors, scientific researchers and the general public.