A water monitoring and information system for Lake Superior: A web portal with real-time buoy and vessel data for climate and ecosystem studies

Document Type

Conference Paper/Presentation

Publication Date



The Lake Superior Water Monitoring and Information System offers timely observations of wave conditions, water quality, and weather conditions on Lake Superior from a variety of sources. The Michigan Tech Research Institute, with the support of GLOS and the University of Michigan, has deployed buoys at the North and South Entries of the Keweenaw Waterway. Data from this buoy are transmitted in real-time through a satellite uplink, allowing for their timely distribution on the LSWMIS web service. Near real-time data collected from the Ranger III vessel traveling between Isle Royale and Houghton, MI are also displayed on the website. Software such as the Django web framework, GeoDjango extension and PostgreSQL handle data requests while Javascript libraries enhance the user's experience by providing sophisticated visualization in charts and maps. The user-friendly open source software has allowed scientists to explore the relationship between surface winds and coastal upwelling, and buoy temperature and satellite-based temperature measurements. The long-term observations afforded by the instrumentation also help with explaining the origin of the recently-verified thermocline. These observations are also of great importance to recreational boaters, commercial fishers, and searchand- rescue operations.

Publisher's Statement

© 2012 The authors.

Publication Title

IAGLR 55th Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research