Marine Scientists Survey New Technology - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/29/02

Marine Scientists Survey New Technology

Marine scientists from around the world are in Biloxi this week. They're sharing information and checking out the latest technology for studying the oceans.

The crowd at the coliseum exhibit hall included scientists, defense contractors and doctoral students. They're sharing information and looking at high tech gadgets, like underwater cameras.

"It has a lateral for side movement. It has a vertical here for up and down. Typical depth rating on this vehicle, the shallow ones being five hundred feet, then we go to a thousand feet, and then we go five thousand feet," said Chris Roper as he demonstrated a remote operated camera and vehicle.

Anyone who can use a joy stick can control the camera. And guess who's interested in it?

"With all the issues right now on homeland security and port security, a tremendous amount of interest in it from the government," said Roper.

With so many displays, it's important to attract attention. The National Data Buoy Center had no trouble. Their giant yellow weather buoy turned heads at the convention hall.

"I understand it got stuck on the way in the other day. Fortunately, we got it through the door," said oceanographer, Mike Burdette.

The three meter weather buoy doesn't look that big anchored in the ocean. But it certainly does indoors.

"It's used by forecasters for forecast validation. And oceanographers use the information to be able to determine what water measurements are doing and how it affects the ocean environment," Burdette said.

A sonar device picked up the presence of anyone who passed by. It works fine on land, but is typically used underwater.

"For search and recovery for example. Downed aircraft, commercial aircraft. The system has a beacon locator in it and can look for the emergency beacon that goes off," said sonar company spokesman, Richard Hess.

The world's best oceanographers will be checking out the cutting edge technology through Thursday. 

Along with the exhibits, the conference includes a variety of workshops and lectures. Wednesday's schedule includes a panel discussion on homeland security issues.

By Steve Phillips

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