Monitoring high-frequency ocean signals using low-cost GNSS/IMU buoys

Yu Lun Huang, Chung Yen Kuo, Chiao Hui Shih, Li Ching Lin, Kai Wei Chiang, Kai Chien Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In oceans there are different ocean signals covering the multi-frequencies including tsunami, meteotsunami, storm surge, as sea level change, and currents. These signals have the direct and significant impact on the economy and life of human-beings. Therefore, measuring ocean signals accurately becomes more and more important and necessary. Nowadays, there are many techniques and methods commonly used for monitoring oceans, but each has its limitation. For example, tide gauges only measure sea level relative to benchmarks and are disturbed unevenly, and satellite altimeter measurements are not continuous and inaccurate near coastal oceans. In addition, high-frequency ocean signals such as tsunami and meteotsunami cannot be sufficiently detected by 6-minutes tide gauge measurements or 10-day sampled altimetry data. Moreover, traditional accelerometer buoy is heavy, expensive and the low-frequency noise caused by the instrument is unavoidable. In this study, a small, low-cost and self-assembly autonomous Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) that independently collects continuous acceleration and angular velocity data is mounted on a GNSS buoy to provide the positions and tilts of the moving buoy. The main idea is to integrate the Differential GNSS (DGNSS) or Precise Point Positioning (PPP) solutions with IMU data, and then evaluate the performance by comparing with in situ tide gauges. The validation experiments conducted in the NCKU Tainan Hydraulics Laboratory showed that GNSS and IMU both can detect the simulated regular wave frequency and height, and the field experiments in the Anping Harbor, Tainan, Taiwan showed that the low-cost GNSS buoy has an excellent ability to observe significant wave heights in amplitude and frequency.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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