SOCIB glider facility

(short name)

Balearic Islands Coastal Observing and Forecasting System

(short name)

SOCIB glider facility


Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain, Mediterranean Sea


39.6665°N - 2.5809°E

Bottom depth

Legal name of organisation

Balearic Islands Coastal Ocean Observing and Forecasting System (SOCIB)




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Joaquim Tintoré Subirana
SOCIB (Director)
Parc Bit, Naorte, Block A,2º Floor, Door 3;07121, Palma,SPAIN
00 34 971 43 98 21
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Marc Torner Tomàs
SOCIB (Glider Engineer)
C/Miquel Marquès 21, 07190; Esporles, SPAIN
00 34 971 61 19 07
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The SOCIB Glider Facility is an example of new technologies being progressively implemented in coastal to open ocean regions allowing autonomous and sustained high-resolution monitoring of specific areas. SOCIB-GF is fully operational in JERICO-NEXT and since 2006 has accomplished 64 missions, 1.244 days in water, 14.555 nm navigated with 39.378 vertical profiles collected. SOCIB-GF human team is composed out of 2 full-time engineers, 1 full-time technician, 2 part-time field-technicians (for at sea operations), 2 part time engineers (for glider data management) and 2 part-time experienced scientists. An intense and fruitful collaboration with IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB) team also exists since the origin of glider operations.

The fleet in 2016 consists of 7 Slocum gliders and 2 iRobot Seagliders, equipped for collecting both physical (T, S) and biogeochemical data (fluorescence, oxygen, etc.) at high spatial resolutions (2km). SOCIB-GF includes a pressure chamber (1.000 m) as well as ballasting and operations labs. It also has access to other SOCIB facilities such as (1) ETD (Engineering & Technology Development): Hurricane Zodiac 9.2 m RIB, Lab-Van and harbour warehouse; (2) SOCIB-R/V: a 24 m coastal catamaran and (3) Data Center: including data management, public repository, on-line web-based platform tracker -for mission monitoring- and development of tools such as the glider processing toolbox (Troupin et al., Methods in Oceanog., 2015, – freely available scripts available at

Web site address: (main) (on-line mission tracker)

SOCIB Glider Fleet is composed of 9 instruments (a.k.a platforms): 7 Slocum gliders (1 Shallow and 6 Deep versions) and 2 iRobot Seagliders, equipped with the sensors listed in the chart below

Sensor Measured Parameter(s) Elevation / Depth Sampling Frequency of data recovery
FLNTU (Wetlabs Eco-puck) Chlorophyll Concentration (μg/l) Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU) 0 to -1000 meters 0.5 Hz (max. freq.). This param. is configurable 6 hrs (near-real-time subset) At mission conclusions (full dataset)
OPTODE (AADI)   0 to -1000 meters 0.5 Hz (max. freq.). This param. is configurable 6 hrs (near-real-time subset) At mission conclusions (full dataset)
GPCTD (pumped) Conductivity (S/m) Temperature (degC) Depth (bar) 0 to -1000 meters 0.5 Hz (max. freq.). This param. is configurable 6 hrs (near-real-time subset) At mission conclusions (full dataset)
CTD(unpumped) Conductivity (S/m) Temperature (degC) Depth (bar) 0 to -1000 meters 0.5 Hz (max. freq.). This param. is configurable 6 hrs (near-real-time subset) At mission conclusions (full dataset)
Typical sensors, sampling rates and surfacing times -when data are transmitted – are:
SOCIB gliders are configured with a default sampling strategy defined to balance efficient and cost-effective scientific-data collection and near-real- time transmission (NRT Tx.). That is:
–     CTD:         f SAMPLING =0,5Hz ; depth-range=[full water column] 
–     OXY:         f SAMPLING =1/4Hz ; depth-range=[full water column]
–     FLNTU:     f SAMPLING =1/8Hz ; depth-range=[0- 150m]
                         f SAMPLING =1/16Hz ; depth-range=[150- 300m]
Similarly, the SOCIB standard surface strategy contemplates the following:
–     Surface when Waypoints are reached (NRT Tx.)
–     Surface for periodical report at UTC 4am, 10am, 4pm and 8pm (NRT Tx.)
Finally, the standard near-real- time transmission (NRT Tx.) strategy, with respect to the science data only, implies transmission of the first CTD profile (no decimation) stored after the previous surface (i.e. at 4am the profile after 8pm’s call would be sent). A similar approach is followed for OXY and FLNTU profiles. Theses values are only indicative. The user proposed strategies are welcome and will be taken into consideration when evaluating the user’s access proposal.

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

Unit of access (UA): day.

SOCIB provides access to one or more gliders of the fleet for autonomous operation at sea. Access to the SOCIB-GF by a user group is treated as a concession granted to use the infrastructure (one or several gliders, prior contact to SOCIB required to assure piloting and operation capabilities) in a dedicated experiment to collect specific data following the implementation of an automated measurement programme agreed between the user group and SOCIB.

TNA projects supported by JERICO-NEXT:

The glider team at SOCIB will support the potential users at any stage in proposal development. SOCIB will provide access to a number of specific complementary services:

1) access to glider platforms prepared and ready for operation in line with the highest international standards;

2) qualified personnel for the management of the gliders (platforms and sensors), including logistics for deployment and recovery;

3) a 24/7 operational system to pilot the gliders at sea;

4) access to a collaborative piloting system;

5) access to a collaborative Data Management system;

6) quasi Real Time (usually less than 6 hours) reception of data and visualization system;

7) state of the art quality control procedures (both for Real Time and Delayed Mode);

8) a SOCIB standard post mission glider report;

9) delayed Mode data in NetCDF format.

10) intercalibration between glider sensor data and SOCIB-R/V rosette sensor data performing a joint cast by mounting glider on rosette using a SOCIB-designed bracket.

11) access to scientific analysis collaborative team.

All proposals will undergo careful peer-review regarding study area, feasibility, mission definition, benefits