You are correct, this probably would fall into a catagory of projects in which the government ought to be involved. The question in my mind is "Can a body that changes composition every two years keep the continuity required for a project that might go on for twenty years?". The record to date is not encouraging without an outside "special interest" group to keep them on point.
Design Engineer - While I am generally the first guy want to keep the government out, I wonder if this is one of the few instances where goverment involvement is a good thing. The primary goal of this is security (from the weather in this case), which is one of the functions of government.
Jim, interesting perspective from someone right there in the heart of the action. I agree with the potential for Wave Glider's adoption by government agencies. So does its manufacturer, Liquid Robotics. Last month the company created a wholly owned federal subsidiary for selling to the US government.
Living in South Florida, we're particularly cognizant of much of the NOAA and National Hurricane Center activities, as they are news-reeled on a regular basis each time a Hurricane meanders across the Atlantic basin. Knowing that both are government funded agencies, and also being somewhat familiar with the predictive technologies they routinely leverage, these waveboard mechanisms may encounter a surge in agency deployments considering this one's robust survival and demonstrated capability during/after Isaac. ( Wonder if we know the Stocker Ticker Symbol-? )
The Gulf is one of several locations where NOAA has deployed tsunami tracking devices. According to this NOAA website
the real-time monitoring systems, called DART, are also deployed in the Pacific and Indian Ocean basins. Wave Glider looks like a good candidate for replacing the buoy/sensor combo currently used.
Counting on the government to accomplish a long term project correctly is an iffy situation at best. An organised group of private individuals with a common intrest gives you a better chance of long term continuity of goals. Including lobying for government fundig where applicable.
Great idea, but good luck getting government funding in this political climate. It would be a natural addition to systems already put in place to track tsunamis, say, outside of Hawaii, or monitoring the water heights near the levees in New Orleans.
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