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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Todd McLeish 874-7892

URI to demonstrate COASTMAP April 22

System maps, monitors, forecasts coastal conditions
Input sought from users of Narragansett Bay

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. -- April 8, 2003 -- Fishermen, surfers, boaters and other users of Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound will soon have a new tool to monitor coastal conditions, thanks to a team of researchers led by a University of Rhode Island engineer.

According to Malcolm Spaulding, URI professor of ocean engineering, COASTMAP is a computer-based, real-time system for monitoring past and current marine conditions and forecasting future conditions. It can be used by surfers to determine wind and wave conditions, for example, or by sailors and fishermen to predict wind speed and direction, water levels and tidal currents, among many other uses.

"We’re providing the same sort of information service for the ocean as the National Weather Service provides for the land," said Spaulding.

A demonstration of COASTMAP will be conducted on Tuesday, April 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Ocean Technology Center on the URI Bay Campus. Representatives of recreational groups and others interested in learning about the system and providing input as the system is refined are encouraged to attend. To register, e-mail Malcolm Spaulding at spaulding@oce.uri.edu or call 401-874-6666. Registration deadline is April 18.

"We’re looking for serious users of local coastal waters who can provide us with feedback on the system so we can make it even more useful to them," Spaulding said.

Among the information available on the system is wind speed and direction, water temperature, tides and currents, wave heights, salinity, satellite imagery, marine navigation charts, Geographic Information System data and other oceanographic information. The data is updated routinely.

In addition to recreational users, an expanded version of the system can be used by the shipping industry, emergency response personnel, environmental managers and others requiring more detailed modeling and forecasting capabilities. The system can be adapted for use in any coastal location in the world.

COASTMAP was developed by Spaulding and colleagues from Applied Science Associates, Drexel University, Brown University, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Funding was provided by the National Ocean Partnership Program, the operations arm of the National Ocean Research Leadership Council.

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