$41 million boost for marine research sector

Marine researchers in Victoria received a financial boost earlier this month as federal and provincial governments put $41.7 million in funding towards Ocean Networks Canada.

Ocean Networks Canada is a University of Victoria project that uses sensor technologies to gather data and images from the sea floor and then streams it around the world.

The program includes a tsunami early-warning system, instruments to improve marine safety, and the first underwater instrument platform in the Arctic.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation’s major science initiatives provided $32.8 million and the Ministry of Advanced Education added $8.9 million.


Ocean Networks Canada takes its technology to the Artic

Ocean Networks Canada has been given a five-year licence to install a cabled observatory system under the ice off in Nunavut, reports the Times Colonist.

The system uses technology that is already in use and sending real-time information from under the sea off Vancouver Island to scientists around the world.

Information about ice thickness is particularly important for people living, working and travelling in Northern Canada.

The aim is to connect the real-time data to information from satellites and other sources. The system is being tested at UVic’s Marine Technology Centre. Recent reports show the Arctic sea ice has melted to its lowest extent since 2007.

Fire watch with Forest Technology Systems

The dog days of summer are close and that means hearing frequent stories about forest fires. Forest Technology Systems, based in Langford and with around 60 employees, is a company that specializes in equipment that can monitor forest fire conditions.

FTS was founded in 1980 and is somewhat of a secret success. It has developed thousands environmental monitoring systems over the years – both fixed and portable. It also offers products that monitor water conditions as well. Clients are often government agencies that manage forestry in the United States and Canada, but the Mexican Navy is also a customer.

The company creates remote automated monitoring stations that can be placed in the middle of nowhere and stand everything that nature can throw at them.  The FTS website has a great story about how a piece of its technology survived a direct lightning strike. Apparently, there are more than 220 FTS remote fire and weather monitoring stations spread around British Columbia. The US Forest Service uses more than 470 of its stations.

Its headquarters, research and design lab, and factory are all located in Victoria. What a great story – a Greater Victoria company leading the way in its field with customers across North America.