IoT 18(13): e5

Research Article

On the design of a sustainable ocean drifter for developing countries

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  • @ARTICLE{10.4108/eai.11-9-2018.155483,
        author={Riccardo Gerin and Marco Zennaro and Marco Rainone and Ermanno Pietrosemoli and Pierre-Marie Poulain and Alessandro Crise},
        title={On the design of a sustainable ocean drifter for developing countries},
        journal={EAI Endorsed Transactions on Internet of Things},
        keywords={ICT4D, Internet of Things, IoT4D, Ocean Drifter},
  • Riccardo Gerin
    Marco Zennaro
    Marco Rainone
    Ermanno Pietrosemoli
    Pierre-Marie Poulain
    Alessandro Crise
    Year: 2018
    On the design of a sustainable ocean drifter for developing countries
    DOI: 10.4108/eai.11-9-2018.155483
Riccardo Gerin1, Marco Zennaro2,*, Marco Rainone2, Ermanno Pietrosemoli2, Pierre-Marie Poulain1, Alessandro Crise1
  • 1: Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale - OGS, Oceanography Division, Via Beirut 2, 34151 Trieste, Italy
  • 2: The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), T/ICT4D Lab, Strada Costiera 11, 34100 Trieste, Italy
*Contact email:


More than fifty low and medium income countries rely on the sea for their economies. Despite its importance, there is a lack of oceanographic scientific data from these countries due to the high cost of equipment and to the running costs of measurement campaigns. In this paper we present a low-cost drifter based on a LoRa communication platform and tested in a coastal area (Gulf of Trieste). The system, built using low-cost off-the-shelf components, has at least the same performances of drifters that costs about three times as much and its operation does not require any recurring costs. The use of a LoRa allows several drifters to operate simultaneously in the same area, providing a rich and homogeneous database for the statistical post processing. The high transmission rate allows an almost instantaneous position determination, facilitating the drifter recovery for successive reuse, which essential in developing countries.