‘Glider Toolbox’: A toolbox for glider data management

The Balearic Islands Coastal Observing and Forecasting System (SOCIB) offers open and free access to a set of MATLAB/Octave scripts and functions developed to manage the data collected by a glider fleet. They cover the main stages of the data management process both in real time and delayed time mode: metadata aggregation, data download, data processing, and generation of data products and figures.

According to researchers, nowadays gliders—robotic underwater vehicles used for measuring oceanographic parameters such as temperature, salinity, oxygen and chlorophyll, which are then transmitted back to the shore— constitute an essential tool for oceanographic monitoring, thanks to their capacity to operate autonomously in all weather conditions, for missions up to several months, and with higher sampling resolution than generally obtained with research vessels. Thus, they are very effective tools for gathering data from the ocean.

In particular, glider vehicles are able to autonomously drive to typically up to 1000 m water depth and return to the surface navigating along a predetermined sampling path, balancing buoyancy against lift for forwarding motion. Thanks to these characteristics, in the last years, gliders have progressively become an integral component of the multi-platform observing systems available to ocean science, providing critical information for climate change research, improving forecasts through data assimilation, and also providing in situ data to improve prediction capacity.

Having proved the scientific value of this technology, in order to harness all of its potential to improve observing and forecasting capabilities, SOCIB, with an active 7 glider fleet in the Balearic region, provides open access to a glider toolbox. This toolbox improves the experience for the glider data offering a generic processing system that appropriately complements its capability and allows any user to directly and efficiently extract new oceanographic knowledge from the acquired data. The SOCIB glider toolbox covers all stages of the data management process, including: metadata aggregation, raw data download, data processing, data correction and the automatic generation of data products and figures. It is designed to be operated either in real-time or in delayed mode, and to process data from three of the most widely used and commercially exploited glider platforms: Slocum gliders, SeaGliders and SeaExplorer.

The SOCIB’s glider toolbox, included in SOCIB’s virtual access within the framework of the Horizon 2020 project JERICO-S3, is available to the scientific community.