ExView: A real-time collaboration environment for multi-ship experiments

Andrew R. Maffei, Steven Lerner, James Lynch, Arthur Newhall, Kevin Fall, Cynthia Sellers, Scott Glenn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


New challenges in the area of experimental logistics, data visualization and data fusion are encountered in oceanographic research when the need to keep track of the location of multiple ships, moorings, gliders, drifters, and other platforms is combined with assimilating supporting data gathered off the Internet and inserted into the experimental framework. Showing that this can be done well is a start towards our being able to think of scientific expeditions on research vessels as deployable ocean observatories. Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution recently collaborated with the Rutgers University Coastal Ocean Observing Lab (COOL) and other members of the Shallow Water '06 experiment (sponsored by the US Office of Naval Research) in the creation of a new software tool called ExView. This Experiment Viewer software is a web-based application that runs on ships and on shore. It enables coordinated, real-time collaboration between researchers employing a number of different research platforms involved in a large-scale experiment. During the SW06 experiment, logistics information and scientific reports associated with twenty-five Principal Investigators, six ships, eight gliders, three REMUS class AUVs, sixty-two moorings, two aircraft, and four drifting moorings were all made available to researchers in near-real-time over a three month time-period during the summer of 2006. A primarily wireless communications network comprising of HiSeasNet (satellite), SWAP (shipboard WiFi), SeaNet (INMARSAT-B), and the Global Internet was used to synchronize websites (5 on ships, 1 on shore) so that all participants of the experiment could contribute and monitor platform locations, ship tracks, glider tracks, aircraft tracks, daily reports, weather information, CODAR imagery, satellite imagery, and ocean model results. A dynamic website was mirrored between all of the ships involved in the SW06 experiment. A map at the center of the web display showed location and tracks of all platforms (ships, moorings, planes, gliders, etc.) and the logistics-related information available from each of them. As ships wandered in and out of wireless range of each other, they updated each others' websites (even though Internet access might not have been available to the ship at that time). A shore-based website was also updated regularly by ships that had satellite connections back to the Internet. Participants on shore (and on each ship) were able to use the website to browse back in time to see the location and status of mobile platforms, science reports that were submitted each day, and data from a number of standard data sensors collected by each of the ships throughout the experiment. A shore-based team at the Rutgers University Cool Lab provided daily reports with graphics such as water temperature profiles, hurricane reports, satellite imagery, weather reports, wind speed profiles, etc. They also provided an analytic analysis of these elements and how they related to the current experiment plans. In addition, Rutger's staff used the ExView application to monitor the locations of their fleet of gliders and steer them to avoid moorings and other fixed and mobile assets in the area. An emerging technology called Delay-Tolerant Networking (DTN) is being examined for inclusion in the ExView software suite. The current DTN design promises tighter integration of wireless technologies and the development of new algorithms capable of routing data via mobile platforms based on available bandwidth, remaining battery power, platform location, data priority, etc. These characteristics will be incorporated into new optional routing algorithms that will be developed in the future as part of DTN. The successful 3-month use of ExView shows how a novel, near-real-time, web-based application can be used to improve access to logistics information about a collection of ships, other research platforms, investigators, data sensors, and related data sources. It also demonstrates how these assets can be joined together for a relatively short period of time to form something that might be considered a "deployable ocean observatory".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOCEANS 2007 - Europe
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
ISBN (Print)1424406358, 9781424406357
StatePublished - 2007
EventOCEANS 2007 - Europe - Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 18 2007Jun 21 2007

Publication series

NameOCEANS 2007 - Europe


OtherOCEANS 2007 - Europe
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityAberdeen, Scotland

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Oceanography
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation


  • Collaboration
  • Data integration
  • Ships
  • Wireless

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