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Meet Ocean Networks Canada

In a nutshell:  Ocean Networks Canada operates the world’s foremost ocean observatories for the advancement of global science and the benefit of British Columbia and Canada. The NEPTUNE and VENUS observatories provide unique scientific and technical capabilities that permit researchers to operate undersea instruments remotely and receive data in their home laboratories, anywhere on the planet, in real time. Ocean Networks Canada is a major initiative of the University of Victoria. As one of Canada’s Centres for Commercialization and Research it is responsible for promoting the advanced technologies developed by the NEPTUNE and VENUS observatories around the world. 

 # of Employees: 82 employees

Industry Sector: Ocean technology

Area of Town: Headquarters are at the University of Victoria, Marine Technology Centre in Sidney, shore station in Port Alberni, and observatory in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

Primary Product/Service: Ocean Networks' primary service is knowledge. We provide some very diverse products:
      • a broad range of data to researchers and scientists;
      • ocean technology infrastructure for earth scientists, ocean scientists, and ocean engineers;
      • services to industry such as sensor demonstration at our technology demonstration facility;
      • ocean analytics, as well as developing earthquake and tsunami warning alerts for public safety;
      • and, resources for formal educators including K-12 teachers, undergraduate professors, and informal educators at museums and aquariums such as curricula, iBooks, and apps.

Annual Budget: Annual budget for NEPTUNE and VENUS observatories is $16 million a year.

How would you describe Ocean Networks Canada in 30 words or less?

We provide an internet-connected ocean. 

What is the best part about doing business in
Greater Victoria?
There are many reasons, but one main reason is that it is a great place to live. We are also supported by many high-tech companies located in Greater Victoria that assist us in delivering our products and services. But most importantly, we are surrounded by water, and that is our business.

What is the best thing Ocean Networks Canada is doing for Greater Victoria?
We give back to the region through our outreach activities. We do at least 50 public lectures per year about interesting aspects of the ocean. Ocean Networks also provides substantial material to local teachers. At Brentwood College, we installed a mini observatory that allows them to understand the technology in a hands-on way and use it for their teaching. We are also developing videos for anyone to use.

The tsunami and earthquake alert systems we are developing are an important part of our work and are directly relevant to our area and the people that live here.

What is it like working at Ocean Networks Canada?
Busy. We have a really great staff that is incredibly diverse. Our team is from a wide range of countries, gender-balanced, and from a lot of different cultures. All of our staff are professionals including engineers, computer scientists, and earth scientists, so it is a rich environment in terms of innovation and discovery. I think people like it here.

What are 3 things few people know about Ocean Networks Canada?

We are the world leader in ocean observatories leading projects such as measuring water properties on the west coast of Vancouver Island by taking over 2,800 profiles in a single expedition.

Our data is free to anybody and stored for up to 20 years. Each day our instruments produce about 360GB of data — that's over 128 terabytes a year of information.

And we have our very own remote control vehicle for exploring and maintaining our underwater nodes. The nodes in the Strait of Georgia — at 175m and 300m below the surface — are at depths where pressure exceeds levels at which divers could safely work. The ROPOS submersible (Remotely Operated Platform for Ocean Sciences) performs well in this dark and high-pressure environment.

Here at Ocean Networks Canada we’re proudest of:
The fact that we are able to connect the world with the mysteries of the ocean and inspire a new generation of scientists and explorers. As well, it is exciting to have provided ongoing global leadership in this area all while maintaining and growing our infrastructure in a challenging environment throughout a number of years.

Other interesting facts about Ocean Networks Canada
Well, we just put in a new observatory in the Arctic. We hope to become the provider in Canada for what we call community-based mini observatories. We hope in the future these observatories could be positioned in almost every coastal community in Canada, so every community can be studying their local ocean environment and understand how it is changing.

We have been getting a great deal of inquiries into potential freshwater projects. We have interest from Quesnel, and the Great Lakes, so we could be expanding into those areas as well.

Right now we are promoting Smart Oceans BC. This program places technology on the coast where the province and federal government are interested in economic development. We feel it is important to have science there in order to understand the environment before development decisions are made. We hope this will be our next big step in British Columbia.

For more information about the University of Victoria or Ocean Networks Canada check out their Chamber Directory Listing or the website for Ocean Networks Canada.



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