Ocean is significantly related to our lives in Taiwan that is surrounded by seawater, so the increasing oceanic activities are unavoidable. The safety of these activities, such as navigation, harbor construction, fishing and cultivation, coastal disaster protection, recreation, and even country defense, then become much more dependent on the long-term, stable, and high quality oceanographic information. Located in the subtropical zone, Taiwan is always threatened by typhoons that cause enormous losses of the human life and property every year. In order to reduce or even diminish typhoon disasters in coastal area, the ways to obtain and provide in-time and accurate meteorological and oceanographic information is one of the main policies of the government.
Prolonged successful operation and maintenance of any automated device in the ocean is still a major challenge. The work needs an experienced and disciplinary team, including Oceanics, Electronics, Computer Science, Structural Design and Material Mechanics, to maintain the whole system in operation. Not only the job is tough and expensive, but it must also face the very real constraints, such as budget, weather, and resource availability.
In response to the requirement of meteorological and oceanographic data in Taiwan, the Coastal Ocean Monitoring Center (COMC) was established within the National Cheng Kung University at Tainan in 1998. The initial objective of COMC is to assist the government to establish the long-term and operational monitoring network. COMC deployed moored buoys and installed automatic meteorological or oceanographic, such as tide station, pile station and coastal weather station that are primarily located in nearshore areas or in the deep ocean to provide real-time data for governmental agencies, such as Central Weather Bureau, Water Resources Agency and Tourist Bureau. In order to assure the data correctness, a Data Quality Check Procedure was developed by COMC. Data from the operational observation stations have been used for forecasting and warning, scientific and research programs, engineering design, and other purposes requiring in-situ data. Up to 2006, there are totally more than 30 stations constructed by COMC, including 13 data buoys. From COMC was funded, it keeps continuously to improve its technology. Currently, the Microwave Radar Wave and Current Extraction System, Ship-board Automatic Metro-oceanographic Observation System, GPS Drifting Buoy and Numerical Models have been successfully developed. In the future, COMC will keep going to improve on measurement technologies.