Additional Participants

Technician, Programmer

Abigail Manahan

Other Participant

Katherine Sackmann

Project Period

March 2006-February 2007

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number


Submission Date



Intellectual Merit:
A diverse suite of autonomous mobile platforms - including drifters, floats, underwater gliders and AUVs (autonomous underwater vehicles), and the small sensors they carry - have collectively become known as ALPS, i.e., "Autonomous and Lagrangian Platforms and Sensors". A small interdisciplinary workshop is proposed as a follow-on to the Spring 2003 ALPS workshop. The first ALPS workshop convened a group of scientists and engineering, representing diverse backgrounds and interests, who met to identify new science that could best be done with ALPS alone or in conjunction with other platforms; to address technological developments needed to improve the capabilities of ALPS; to elucidate models for making the technologies more accessible to the broader community; and to assess training, education and outreach efforts. Until the first ALPS workshop, there had been no focused plan that outlined how ALPS could enable new opportunities in cross-disciplinary ocean studies. The ALPS workshop produced a report that detailed the capabilities of these mobile platforms and outlined the exciting, new scientific opportunities for using ALPS for interdisciplinary studies of the ocean; the report is available one line at The follow-on workshop, to be held in Winter 2005 will focus on the details of how ALPS can be used in specific types of studies that are best suited to mobile technologies. Secondary goals are a) to outline a future scientific conference to bring together a diverse community of present and potential users of Lagrangian and autonomous platforms and b) to plan a framework for exploring implementation models to make ALPS technologies more accessible to the broader scientific community. The proposed ALPS workshop will be small, with about 20 participants representing a diverse cross section of the ocean community. A draft report will be vetted and community comment incorporated in the document; the final report will be published in Spring 2005.

Broader Impacts:
The primary goal of the proposed workshop is to continue advancements in ocean observations and hypothesis testing made possible by mobile platforms. The full potential for using ALPS testing has not yet been fully explored; the workshop will detail mechanisms to do that. A scientific conference will help disseminate knowledge about using ALPS and results of ALPS experiments. An increasing number of investigators wish to use ALPS, but presently have no access to the technology; the workshop will address models to facilitate access to these tools and data by a broader community. The research resulting from ALPS technologies will contribute to a more powerful capacity to observe the oceans and to address issues of major societal concern, including climate change and ocean ecosystem health.

Included in

Oceanography Commons