Expandable Seafloor Observatory OBSEA

(short name)

Expandable Seafloor Observatory

(short name)

Expandable Seafloor Observatory


Barcelona, Catalan Coast (Spain), Western Mediterranean


41.1819°N - 1.7524°E

Bottom depth

20 m

Legal name of organisation

Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC)




Dr. Joaquín del Río Fernández
Univeritat Politècnica de Catalunya
Rambla Exposición 24
Tel:+34 609926966

Email: Please login or register to view contact information.

OBSEA is an underwater cabled observatory connected with 4 km of cable to the coast of Vilanova i la Geltrú (Barcelona, Spain) and placed at a depth of 20m in a fishing protected area. Operations are done by scuba divers and small boats. A surface buoy located at 40m from the underwater unit is an extension of OBSEA working as surface platform for measuring oceanographic and environmental parameters. A Shore Station provides power (3.6kW) to feed all the devices and the fiber optic link (1Gbps) to establish communications. At the same time from land we manage alarms and data storage. With a length of 1000 meters the terrestrial cable connects the Ground Station to the Beach Manhole where the submarine cable begins its route to the node location at 4 km from the coast and 20 m depth.

OBSEA has nowadays two junction boxes with a total of 16 underwater webmate connectors.


Instrument Measured Parameter(s) Elevation / Depth Sampling Frequency of data recovery
CTD T, S, Depth, Conductivity, Sound Velocity 20 m 10 seconds Real Time
AWAC Currents and waves 20 m 1 minute Real Time
Hydrophone Acoustic pressure 20 m 96kSps Real Time
Underwater VideoCameras images 20 m 10fps Real Time
Seismometer Seadbed vibrations 20 m 256Sps Real Time
Meteo Station T, Hr, P, wind 0 m 10 seconds Real Time
Surface Camera Images 0 m 10fps Real Time
pH and pCO2 (early 2016) - 0 m soon Real Time

  • Remote: the measuring system is implemented by the operator of the installation and the presence of the user group is not required,
  • In person/hands-on: the presence of the user group is required/recommended during the whole operation period)
  • Partially remote: the presence of the user group is required at some stage e.g. installing and un-installing user’s equipment.

Unit of access (UA): day.

Access duration corresponds to the period of installing, operating and un-installing a measuring system by the users (in person/hands-on and partially remote access) or in his/her behalf by the access provider (remote access).

TNA projects supported by JERICO-NEXT:

The infrastructure offers power, communications and synchronization to instruments or systems to be deployed in the area. In addition offers the data of permanent instruments, like: CTD, Hydrophone, Seismometer, Video Camera, AWAC, Meteo Station. Quality controlled data available in real time. Data from CTDs and Meteorological buoy are available in real time through as OGC SOS, IEEE 1451 and .csv or .txt files. Hourly data average with QC/QA are available in .csv and netCDF format. The Data can be accessed in EMODnet Physics, OGC SOS, IEEE 1451, and RAW data in .csv, .txt format through OBSEA web page and FTP server.

Biological assessment of species trough real time video cameras and cabled observatories is being carried out at Obsea. Permanent seismometers offer seismic data to regional (Catalan) and national (Spanish) seismic networks. Current meters data (AWAC) are being used to study coastal dynamics. UPC staff offers technical support for instrument deployment planning, interfacing with observatory, and access to real time instrument data after deployment.

Quality control of data is offered.
Logistics: ship and scuba divers for instrument deployment.

To be verified with the facility provider.