News Details

NEPTUNE Canada Goes Live

Dec 15, 2009

Chris Barnes
NEPTUNE Canada director Chris Barnes serves as emcee for our Go-live Celebration, 8 Dec 09. (Click to enlarge.)

On Tuesday 8 December 2009, the big day finally arrived. With the click of a mouse, NEPTUNE Canada went live, allowing people everywhere to access both our realtime and archived data via the Internet.

The event was celebrated by a gala gathering at the University of Victoria’s Bob Wright Centre Auditorium, and webcast live to a global audience. Distinguished speakers included representatives for the University of Victoria, provincial and federal governments, Canada Foundation for Innovation and CANARIE.

Kim Juniper
Dr. Kim Juniper describes the applications of NEPTUNE Canada for the study of disturbance in deep-sea ecosystems, 8 Dec 09. (Click to enlarge.)

In addition, seven NEPTUNE Canada scientists gave short presentations on the science they are pioneering through use of the observatory. (Click for the full list of speakers, including background information.)

The high-point of the event occurred when Hon. Iain Black, BC, Minister of Small business, Technology and Economic Development clicked a mouse to activate live data delivery through the Web (see Go-live Animation).

Every year for the next 25 years, the NEPTUNE Canada seafloor observatory will amass more than 60 terabytes of scientific data—equivalent to the text in about 60 million books—on biological, physical, chemical and geological processes in the Pacific Ocean.

The data will have policy applications in the areas of climate change, hazard mitigation (earthquakes and tsunamis), ocean pollution, port security and shipping, resource development, sovereignty and security, and ocean management.

Oceans 2.0 Data Explorer
Screengrab showing a set of interactive panels in our new Oceans 2.0 Data Explorer. (Click to enlarge.)

Data delivery is managed by a new interactive web application, dubbed the Oceans 2.0 Data Explorer, which allows any registered user to:

  • search and download data products
  • browse information about our instruments and sensors
  • interactively plot data through the web
  • view and comment on video logs of our deepsea installation dives by ROPOS
  • view live video from the seafloor (when camera lights are turned on) and watch as scientists control deepsea cameras

An Overwhelming Response

Over 1100 unique visitors watched all or part of our Go-live Webcast. An additional 20 screened a high-bandwidth version of the webcast for group gatherings at institutions connected to the CANARIE network. Aside from Canada, visitors viewed the webcast in Austria, the Bahamas, China, Cyprus, France, Germany, Peru, UK and USA.

In the two days following the webcast our website was thronged by over 8400 unique visitors. An additional 11,000+ video views were logged on our YouTube channel, and over 1400 data searches were performed. Nearly 3000 new users joined NEPTUNE Canada during the week following the webcast.

Many visitors wanted to access the live data, especially live video streaming from the seafloor. This presented a logistical challenge for us, as the camera lights can only be turned on for short periods of time to minimize impacts on the sensitive deepsea ecosystems we’re studying. For the short term, scientists have decided to manually turn on the lights 11:00 a.m. – noon (Pacific Standard Time). Later, however, camera lights will be controlled by an automated schedule similar to the one used by our test platform in Saanich Inlet – 3 minutes every half hour. (We’ll be posting the schedule on our calendar.) We also plan to record each lights-on session and make these recordings available as part of our data archive.

We’re thrilled to have NEPTUNE Canada finally up, running and live on the Internet. We’ve also been humbled and gratified by the many expressions of interest and support received from scientists and ocean enthusiasts around the world. Going forward, we hope to expand our offerings by providing more types of data from more instruments and sensors while continually improving our suite of unique online software tools for finding, analyzing and sharing our wealth of data.

Related links

Go-live Webcast

New web application: Oceans 2.0 Data Explorer

Latest available scalar data readings

Video tutorial: How to View Live Video from the Seafloor

Video tutorial: How to Search for Data from the Seafloor

Press release

Fast facts

Researcher profiles

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