Catching Oz Waves

National infrastructure for in-situ Australian wave observations
Sea and sand
Who will benefit
Researchers, research organisations, government agencies, commercial marine organisations

The Challenge

Wave dynamics are critical to ocean industries, coastal development and leisure activities. While real-time and delayed mode surface wave buoy data are already available on the Integrated Marine Observing System’s Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN) Portal, there is much more data that could contribute to understanding and monitoring waves.

The Response

This project developed a national data asset of Australian in-situ wave observations and facilitated improved data delivery to national and international stakeholders.

The expanded range of data outputs includes wave spectra information (frequency and direction) and raw displacement of the surface elevation in addition to the existing time series of common parameters (e.g. significant wave height and peak wave period).

The implementation of governance and key processes, metadata standards and other guidance has enabled new partnerships and additional data contributions, including from observation buoys.

This project demonstrates the power of collaboration across the various organisations. We have improved the availability of in-situ wave data delivering it to national and international stakeholders to contribute to the understanding and monitoring of waves.

Michelle Heupel, IMOS Director


The project delivered a harmonised, standardised and trustworthy collection of wave measurements and several related resources, providing a foundation for additional data contributions from the deployment of wave buoys in new locations.

The 2 existing datasets were expanded with 4 new data-providing organisations. There are now 10 institutions providing data with a 58% and 40% increase of sites for the real-time and delayed-mode data collections, respectively.

Access the expanded data collections:

Delayed-mode data (integral wave parameters, wave spectra and raw displacement of surface elevation) can now also be accessed via the AODN THREDDS catalogue.

Real-time integral wave parameters data is now displayed on the IMOS OceanCurrent website.

An open-source conversion tool has been developed to ingest real-time data from various relevant APIs and convert it according to an agreed data and metadata standard.

The Australian Wave Buoy Operations and Data Management Guidelines, which outline the standard operating and data management procedure for wave buoys, have been published on Ocean Best Practices.

Who Will Benefit

Government agencies, researchers, research organisations, commercial marine organisations are benefitting from:

  • improved and documented workflows for real-time and delayed mode data
  • expanded data coverage including wave spectra information (frequency and direction) and raw displacement of the surface elevation, in addition to existing time series of common parameters (e.g. significant wave height and peak wave period)
  • consistent data outputs through the implementation of quality control/assurance procedures and data/metadata standards.

The Partners

  • IMOS
  • NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
  • The University of Western Australia
  • RPS MetOcean Pty Ltd
  • Bureau of Meteorology
  • Deakin University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Pilbara Ports Authority
  • OMC International
  • Queensland Department of Environment and Science
  • University of Tasmania
  • Australian Institute of Marine Science
  • Western Australia Department of Transport
  • Manly Hydraulics Laboratory.

Further Resources

Contact the ARDC

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January 2021 to April 2023

Current Phase


ARDC Co-investment


Project lead

Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS)