There’s news today that Liquid Robotics, the maker of the Wave Glider ocean exploration robotic platform, has recruited James Gosling, the creator of the Java programming language. The Wave Glider drones are an innovative sensor platform that can last years and travel thousands of miles, carrying a variety of sensor payloads. Understanding the Big Data and network challenges of this sensor fleet, the company used the shared Sun Microsystems ties between Liquid Robotics’ CEO Bill Vass and Gosling to win him over from Google.
In addition to the sensor platform, Liquid Robotics has also set up a Data-as-a-Service cloud offering to provide real-time access to their ocean information. These challenges and the world-changing possibilities spiked Gosling’s interest, as he said, “It involves a large data problem and a large-scale control problem, both of which are fascinating to me and have been passions of mine for years.”
Wave Gliders are being used for scientific research by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s National Data Buoy Center and Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, as well as several premier oceanographic facilities such as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of Hawaii. The craft are also being deployed for commercial operations such as in offshore oil and gas exploration, and for a variety of government and defense uses.
The software problems of networking and relaying this real-time data are certainly considerable, and key to unlocking the potential of this platform. Second to this is the need and interest to visualize this data on a global scale. There’s clearly an opportunity here for a GIS alliance, and I can’t wait to see the kind of services and products come from this effort.
Here’s a short video of the Wave Glider in action.