SmartBay Infrastructure

The SmartBay observatory is a cabled observatory which has been operational since 2015 in Galway Bay. The observatory includes a fiber optic data and power cable which provides connectivity to a sub-sea sensor hosting platform located at a depth of ~25m. The sub-sea platform includes 17 electrical input/output “science” ports, 4 hybrid input/output “optical” ports and one coaxial port. The science ports can deliver 75W at different combinations of 12, 15, 24V DC with either serial or ethernet communication protocols (up to 100 Mbps) to scientific instruments. Instruments can be deployed and recovered on the science ports year round. The optical ports can deliver 1.2 KW at 400V DC with an optical link up to 1 Gbps. Instruments can only be deployed or recovered on the optical ports during scheduled on-shore maintenance.

The sub-sea platform includes a number of permanent instruments which are used to monitor background environmental parameters and against which new and novel sensors can be tested. The permanent or ‘core’ suite of sensors deployed on the SmartBay observatory includes:

  • Conductivity, Temperature, Depth (CTD)
  • Dissolved Oxygen (D02)
  • Turbidity / Fluorescence
  • ADCP
  • HD TV (and associated lights)
  • Hydrophone
  • Fish Tracker
The SmartBay observatory will support an acoustic array by mid-2018 on one of the optical ports. The array consists of 12 hydrophones and 6 particle velocity sensors (6 landers with 2 hydrophones & 1 PV per lander). The acoustic array allows focused monitoring and measurement of ocean noise in relation to marine ecology, ocean energy devices, sub-sea devices and other related purposes. The observatory provides a variety of research opportunities from the testing and development of novel marine equipment and sensors to camera and acoustic software analytics. There has also been considerable interest in using the HDTV camera to monitor how various materials degrade or withstand degradation at the seabed.

Services Currently Offered

A specialist team of marine operations and instrumentation technicians provides a range of supports to all users of the facility. This enables users of the facility to focus on data analysis, device validation and product development. Each project is guided from initial concept through to deployment and proof of concept validation.

Users of the SmartBay observatory will be offered a high-quality, end-to-end service including:
  1. Pre-deployment testing on a dedicated, custom-built test rig to simulate subsea conditions;
  2. Operational support providing bench testing, deployment, operations and maintenance, recovery of the sensor/ equipment;
  3. ICT team for data acquisition and data transmission support;
  4. Deployments at the SmartBay observatory will have access to the observatory’s power, data acquisition and data transmission systems;
  5. Near real-time data transmission and visualization via online data portal.
  6. Remote management of instruments via VPN connections to Virtual Machines (VM) installed on the observatory shorestation servers

Scheduled Maintenance

The observatory equipment is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance and has been lifted for cleaning and calibration.
We hope to be back live from Galway Bay in July 2018.

The Galway Bay Observatory has been very busy over the past year continuously monitoring the underwater environment off the coast of Spiddal. It is now time for the observatory to take a well-deserved break and come ashore for some tender loving care. We plan to give the observatory a thorough clean and replace its scientific instruments. The revitalised observatory will be reinstated soon to continue its task of collecting important information on the marine environment from the depths of Galway Bay.

Archived data can still be downloaded from the links below: