A variety of infrastructure — platforms, nodes, instruments, and sensors — comprise the arrays designed to provide a continuous stream of ocean data to the user community.
OOI is made of up five arrays:
- Regional Cabled Array: submarine fiber optical cables that power three sub-arrays of seafloor instruments and instrumented moorings on the Juan de Fuca plate in the Northeast Pacific: the Cabled Axial Seamount, the Cabled Continental Margin, and the Cabled Endurance Array of Oregon
- Coastal Endurance Array: moored arrays and autonomous vehicles off the coasts of Washington and Oregon
- Coastal Pioneer Array: moored arrays and autonomous vehicles off the coast of New England
- Global Irminger Sea Array: moored arrays and autonomous vehicles off the coast of Greenland
- Global Station Papa: moored arrays and autonomous vehicles in the Gulf of Alaska
A fixed platform (such as a surface mooring) takes measurements at a single point in space. Mobile platforms (such as a profiler mooring which has components that move up and down the water column or a glider which can move freely through the water) take measurements in two or three dimension. OOI supports more than 80 platforms.
Each platform can contain multiple “nodes” that provide power and connectivity. Non-cabled nodes contain one or more computers and power converters, powered by batteries, wind or solar. Cabled instruments are plugged into the powered cable and their data are collected and transmitted to shore. The Regional Cabled Array has seven primary nodes that provide power and connectivity to the array. These nodes also serve as distribution centers for extension cables that provide power and communication to sensors, instrument platforms, and moorings. Continuous, real-time flow of data allows interactive science experiments to be conducted at the seafloor and throughout the water column.
Arrays, platforms, nodes, and junction boxes provide the physical framework for instrumentation and sensors used to collect and transmit data to shore. More than 800 instruments of 36 different types are deployed on OOI’s arrays. Each instrument is equipped with one or more sensors that collectively measure more than 200 different ocean parameters.
The OOI’s ultimate objective is to provide real- to near-real time oceanographic data to answer pressing scientific questions. Relaying the data captured by this complex network of infrastructure is accomplished by an equally complex integrated cyberinfrastructure that receives, stores, and transmits ocean data to all those who request it.