Filling the coastal data gaps!

Latest in ‘Filling the coastal data gaps!’:

  • 29 May, final mini-conference!. Featured pitches:  Nytt projekt.png
  • 22 May. Chalmers student groups did their pitch #2 of their solutions.
  • 8 May, ODF Sweden WP3 leader Dave Rayner, from Swedish National Data Service talked about FAIR data. This was the final formal lecture for the Chalmers student groups.
  • 24 April, Chalmers student groups did pitch #1 of their solutions.
  • Chalmers course ‘Leading in a Digital World‘ started 22 March 2023!


‘Filling the coastal data gaps’ is a challenge in the Chalmers course ‘Leading in a Digital World‘, as well as in ODF Sweden’s seventh innovation cycle. Robin Teigland is the course leader and also the director of ODF Sweden. Ida Heathcote-Fumador is a Chalmers PhD student, supervised by Robin, and teacher assistant in the course. Mafalda de Freitas will also assist. Mafalda is a marine biologist, director of Peniche Ocean Watch, and project manager at Ocean Tech Hub LDA, Portugal.

This webpage serves as a landing page for both students and others following the challenge.

110 Chalmers students will work in groups to construct low-cost instruments for coastal data collection. Chalmers Revere Lab and Chalmers Fuse makerspace will support this activity. The student groups will develop and pitch solutions that

  • fill the coastal data gaps,
  • support the needs owners (companies, researchers, public sector),
  • support data FAIRness (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable).
Robin Teigland
Ida Heathcote-Fumador
Mafalda de Freitas

Reference group

Needs owners

Robert Mertens is the founder of Mooringo. Robert is looking for solutions that can engage his customers (boaters and marinas) in data collection. 

Leon Green is marine biology researcher at the University of Gothenburg. Leon is looking for solutions that can provide data to complement his observatories of invasive fish species.

Patrick Gorringe works at SMHI with International Ocean Affairs. Patrick is looking for solutions that can be pitched at the Grand Finale of the Ocean Race in Genova on 24-25 June.

Stephan Hagerling is the founder of Bottenlusen. Stephan is looking for solutions to make scientific measurements at his marine observatory at Kärringön.

Marine and data experts

Torsten Linders is the coordinator of ODF Sweden.

Ana Tronholm is a marine biology researcher at University of Gothenburg.

Ola Benderius is an Associate Professor and a researcher at Chalmes Revere Lab.

Jurie “Jannes” Germishuys is a data scientist at Combine.

David Rayner is a training coordinator at Swedish National Data Service.

Student pitches

The complete list will be available on 28 May, the day before the final mini-conference.

  1. Ocean Sentinel. Temperature buoy for marinas. We believe that protecting the coastline is everyone’s responsibility. That’s why we empower citizens to take an active role in monitoring and safeguarding the environment. By using buoys and citizen engagement to gather data while enjoying the sea, we can better understand the threats facing our coastline and work together to find solutions. With help from marinas that organize and provide ocean sentinels we make it easy for boat owners, the users, to fill the data gap.
  2. Make Ocean Sense. Temperature, turbidity data, connected to existing buoys for offshore farming. Our sensor will collect the temperature and turbidity of the ocean. Temperature is important for seaweed cultivation and turbidity is a good way for noticing when water quality changes. The seaweed industry is rapidly growing and right now there are no cheap and easy-to-use sensors on the market. With our sensor we want to help farmers better understand what parameters affect their cultivations and at the same time contribute to the ocean data gap challenge.
  3. ACT-sensor (Automatic Chlorophyll and Temperature sensor). Chlorophyll and temperature on buoy at sea level. Our idea is to build a sensor that measures the amount of chlorophyll A in coastal areas, as well as the temperature, these two measurements could be valuable for early detection of algal blooms. The sensor will have live data updates which could be used by people looking for a place to swim with good temperature and no algal blooms.
  4. TESS. Temperature collected from motorboat. Our concept is TESS, short for temperature sensor. TESS is a sensor designed to measure the temperature of ocean water near the coast. The sensor will be hanging from a 3D printed turtle, from the reeling of motorboats. The turtle is splash-proof, and houses the electronics. The idea is to engage children and their parents in joint creation of all the parts of the sensor, from programming to designing and printing (Or buying finished kit) to lowering the sensor into the water and collecting temperature for both their own knowledge as well as for the scientists. The data will be live fed to our homepage and GPS data for coordinates will be used, with GDPR and FAIR in mind.
  5. WaterWhisper. Sound data on buoy. Our idea is to make a sensor that registers sound through a hydrophone. The sensor will be attached to a buoy or drifter that will be deployed by recreational sailboat owners. We have decided that our group is called “Citizen Sailors”, and that the device is called “WaterWhisper”.
  6. OceanEars. Underwater sounds at marinas. Our idea is to provide a simple to construct instrument sensor which will collect sound data in marine environments. This will help people map the motorboat traffic in certain areas, which can be useful for the work done by some governmental agencies like Transportstyrelsen. In addition to this, our idea will make sure citizen scientists can generally map the sound pollution made by motorboats in marine environments.
  7. Fender Extender. Some kind of toxicity measure to be collected by boat owners. A reliable turbidity sensor, perfect for measuring suspended particles in liquids. With a user-friendly interface, it offers accurate readings, real-time monitoring, and easy integration. Ideal for various marine industries, it ensures optimal clarity and water quality control. All data is securely stored on our website, providing convenient access and analysis.
  8. AquaTherm. Temperature, pH, salinity on buoy that is already used today. Clip-on buoy attachment that measures ocean parameters such as temperature, salinity and pH. Target audience: Water sport clubs. Current temperatures are valued by the water sport clubs when training since the temperature affects the strategies used and clothing needed. Brings joy.
  9. BlueTech Data. Joint with group 18 and Mooringo. Nytt projekt.pngThe sensor is meant to be integrated with a large and attractive-looking floating carrier, branded with various important stakeholders’ logos and slogans. Citizen scientists are encouraged to tow the carrier along the coast to collect valuable data. The aim is to incentivize both marinas and citizens by creating a buzz. The large carrier will draw attention when towed, hopefully creating interest through word-of-mouth marketing. 
  10. OceanScope. Temperature, salinity for smallboats for weatherstations, seamaps. Our sensor will collect information about temperature and salinity combined with a geoposition. The sensor will be mounted on recreational boats, e.g sailing boats and motorboats. The idea is to create a heatmap for tourists to locate the desired water temperature and salinity for bathing or fishing.
  11. Air-Ohoy. Air pressure and temperature from fishing boat or pier on floating buoy. Data for air pressure and temperature to be collected from a buoy that is thrown in water. The sensor will primarily be used by fishers to collect data that will tell them important information on how the fish is feeling and to get a better overview in which fish to catch.
  12. pHil the gap. Watersports industry. Beneath the surface lies an unexplored world, but the oceans are at risk. We will present to you a complete sensor for collecting pH – integrated in a divers equipment. This will give marine biologists the data they need to save and protect our reefs. pHil is an easy to build sensor – with a favorable pricetag. Waterproof up to 50 meters beneath the waves. The casing is made out of standard unit pipes, accessible all over the world. The electronics of the sensor are also them standard regarding both hardware and software.
  13. AnchorWatch. Recreational boat activity in natural harbours – linked to marine environment. Collecting data of the number of recreational boats that anchor in natural harbours by mounting a camera sensor which takes blurred still images and relays them to a server, where the number of boats are counted. This results in a histogram of the recreational boat activity in the given natural harbour, which can function as a decision basis for environmental decisions, such as strategic placement of buoys.
  14. SALLY. Salinity by Boatyards for paint makers. With our idea, we want to tackle the problem that a large part of the anti-fouling paints used by boat owners today leaks toxins to a greater degree than is necessary for them to function correctly. The reason for this is that the paints are not adapted to the places where the boats are located 90% of the time – in the marinas. Today, the paints are adapted to large areas. There is a positive correlation between the level of salinity and the amount of leakage from anti-fouling paint. We want to create a sensor to measure salinity that can then be matched to an anti-fouling paint created for the marinas salinity level and therefore has as little leakage as possible, while still fulfilling its purpose of keeping growths away from the boat.
  15. OctoSpy. Together with Havets Hus. OctoSpy – An octopus-shaped sensor equipped with a GPS that measures temperature in the ocean and it’s turning ordinary families and schoolchildren into citizen scientists. Just place the octopus on the ocean surface and turn the power button on, data will then automatically be collected and transferred to our website in real time, enabling researchers to take part of our live data. The game, connected to the sensor, can be played both on land or at sea. By collecting data you will earn points which can be used in the game. Octospy is designed to be used in schools and by integrating the sensor into their curriculum, schools can provide an interactive and engaging learning environment that sparks curiosity and nurtures a deep understanding of both technical principles and biological concepts. In collaboration with our partner, Havets Hus in Lysekil, OctoSpy will be introduced and built by children at the upcoming event, Västerhavsveckan.
  16. B.A.I.T. (Boat-based Aquatic Information Tracker). Light, temperature, depth, by fishermen for SMHI. Our product attaches to the fishing line, enabling the user to gain insight into the water conditions. We intend to equip it with depth, temperature and light sensors which allows fishermen to optimize their fishing while helping fill research-data gaps.
  17. BlueTech Data. Joint with group 9 and Mooringo. Nytt projekt.pngThe idea is to construct a sensor called DragOn that is dragged behind sailboats to measure temperature and turbidity. The sensor will be designed as a dragon to capture the attention of boat owners, generating interest in using it and assisting in collecting more data. The boat owners will also be able to access the data they have collected and where it was collected along their route, which also may increase their interest to use it. We are collaborating with Robert Mertens at Mooringo who intend to have a reward system in their app where boat owners can get discounts by using the sensor. 
  18. Tempura. Temperature at depth from fishing boats. We are creating a sensor product called “Tempura” to gather data related to temperature at a depth of around 3 meters. The product will be constructed using a Raspberry Pi, temperature sensor, and GPS, as well as other necessary parts. The fishermen will be given ideas on how they may use items at home such as a jar to build the case. Tempura will be targeted towards recreational fishers. We aim to incentivise their use by giving them real time, subsurface data of the temperature, aiding them in finding the optimal fishing waters. We plan to do this by having a small screen displaying the current temperature in the case. 
  19. Project Greencoast. Temperature, salinity, uses a temperature sensor and conductivity to measure both temperature and salinity. The point of the project is to support aquaculture farming by developing cheap, accessible sensors that can measure some of the parameters that affect how well algae grow. This can directly help algae farms be more effective but also be useful for data mapping parameters of the coastline.

Low-cost sensors

The pitches from the Chalmers students focus on different solutions using low-cost sensors. The solutions must also be fit for purpose, including:

  • Sufficiently robust, enduring the salty ocean water and the pressure at the intended depth.
  • Sufficiently accurate to meet the intended data need. Some times even modest accuracy is a lot better than no data…

Examples of measured parameters:

  • Temperature is one of the most basic environmental parameters, and it is also among the easiest and cheapest to measure!
  • Salinity is a defining parameter in the ocean! In theory it is readily measurable, by measuring electrical conductivity. But it is hard to produce an accurate and stable sensor…
  • Pressure is a very good proxy for depth in the ocean. There are modestly cheap pressure sensors available, but they get more expensive if you want to go to 100 meters or even deeper…
  • Sound is by far the signal that travels easiest (longest) in the ocean! Some sound is noise and can be harmful to marine life. Sound in water is measured by hydrophones, which can be made relatively cheap. The challenge is to interpret the data…
  • Light is very important for ocean life. Relatively easy to measure, depending on how accurate and detailed data you need…
  • Turbidity is a measure related to how much particles there is in the water. Measured by active sensors emitting light, and measuring how is reflected. An alternative is to measure transmission, i.e. how much light is passing through without being reflected. Quite tricky to construct these sensor, no low-cost versions on the market (to the best of our knowledge).