Nantucket Field Station sensor buoys deployed in the harbor

NFS Buoy Data

Three sensor buoys were deployed in the harbor in 2008 and 2009 by a collaborative team of scientists from on- and off-island. The buoys transmit live data wirelessly, which can be accessed anytime via a public website.

Two buoys were installed in Nantucket Harbor, while a third was put in Madaket Harbor. The project was coordinated by Managing Director Dr. Sarah Oktay of the Nantucket Field Station, with partial funding from the Shellfish Advisory Board (SHAB).

The heart of the buoys’ functionality lies in the units secured atop them. These watertight housings contain SolarStream units with ports for connecting various instruments. Initially, all of the units will measure temperature in the water, while one will also measure photosynthetic light beneath the surface. There are plans to add several other sensors in the future.

Mike Pollard and Francesco Peri, professors at UMass Boston and members of the Center for Coastal Environmental Sensing Networks, built the computing units on campus in Boston over an eight-week period. The buoys were donated by Chris Vanderwalk, the Madaket harbormaster, and were painted and assembled by Field Station staff.

The data is integrated into a Google Earth map and is available online at

Nantucket Field Station

180 Polpis Road
Nantucket, MA 02554 USA