Great Lakes

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (NOAA GLERL)

Applied Science Associates, Clarkson University, Michigan Tech Research Institute, University of Minnesota-Duluth

Our Expert:

LimnoTech worked with a large group of stakeholders to design the architecture of a comprehensive Great Lakes observing system to provide access to critical, real-time and historical information about the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River and interconnecting waterways for use in managing, safeguarding, and understanding these freshwater resources.

The Challenge

A significant amount of real-time and historical data, modeling, and other data tools are available for the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, and interconnecting waterways. A team of experts, led by LimnoTech, was awarded a NOAA-GLERL grant to design the architecture of a comprehensive data management system to provide technology and data to support effective Great Lakes management and broad user needs. The design for this complex system needed to include sensors, a data-gathering network, a data management and communications system, models and other tools that process data, as well as information portals and user interfaces to connect data and information with the people, organizations, and institutions that use, manage, maintain, and develop the system over time.

The Outcome

LimnoTech developed a detailed plan for the architecture of the Great Lakes observing system in collaboration with a diverse, bi-national group of stakeholders. Stakeholder involvement was critical to the success of this project and included data providers, managers and users from governmental/ non-governmental organizations, academia, private industries and other individuals.

The plan describes how the Great Lakes observing community will employ land-, water-, air- and space-based observation technologies to provide information that facilitates effective decision-making by Great Lakes stakeholders. This integrated observing system will provide critical data to inform and manage priority issues affecting public health and safety, ecological integrity and restoration, and the economic viability of the Great Lakes region. Public health and safety will benefit from information on beach conditions, storm warnings, wave conditions, and currents. The commercial shipping industry, sport and commercial fishing industry, recreational boating industry, and tourism economy will also benefit from information disseminated by the system. Finally, the observing system enterprise will serve as an important resource to support remediation, restoration, prediction, and conservation actions throughout the Great Lakes.


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