"Above all else, we need a rapid increase in ocean data, and to empower more people to use it." (About Sofar)

Increasing Access to Ocean Data and Data Collection Tools

Despite the fact that the ocean covers more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, more than 80 percent of the ocean remains unmapped and unobserved. With so much of this vast ecosystem unexplored, compiling comprehensive databases and sharing the information we do have is critical for both specialists and amateurs to learn more about the oceans and the creatures that live there.

Sofar is an organization that aims to create better, accessible tools to explore and understand the ocean. Founded earlier this year, it is the result of two organizations uniting to support a common mission: OpenROV, a citizen scientist community developing accessible underwater drones, and Spoondrift, a team dedicated to democratizing access to ocean data. They aim to create a network to provide critical data to ocean scientists, enthusiasts, and conservationists through their products.

Ocean Technology With a Purpose

The tools Sofar has created serve a wide range of purposes, from aiding marine weather monitoring to the exploration of the ocean depths. One of Sofar’s latest creations, Spotter, is a high-tech buoy that measures winds, waves, and currents. Lasting for years on solar power while out in the open ocean, Spotter collects data that can be accessed in real time from anywhere in the world. Sofar hopes that their buoy will help both scientists and recreational users more easily access and assimilate data to enable better understanding of oceanic patterns and develop better data models.

Sofar has also created Trident, a rugged underwater drone that can explore up to 100 meters below the surface of the water. For individual researchers and organizations utilizing Trident and Spotter, Sofar offers consultations to customize data collection. Whether used for environmental monitoring, science and research, exploration, or recreation, Sofar hopes their services can help users make memorable and important discoveries underwater.

Image: Trident via Sofar