India launches warning device for marine emergency

India launches warning device for marine emergency which is based on Gagan satellite communication system.

Need of a seamless and effective dissemination of emergency information and communication on disaster warnings was being felt in India.

To disseminate emergency information related to Potential Fishing Zones (PFZ) and Ocean States Forecasts (OSF) to fishermen, the Government of India launched the Gagan Enabled Mariner’s Instrument for Navigation and Information (GEMINI) device.

Union Minister for Earth Sciences, Science & Technology and Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has launched it in New Delhi.

Speaking on this occasion he said “The satellite based communication is the only suitable solution for the dissemination of such emergency information and affordable satellite based communication system should be made part of the dissemination chain to deal with cyclones, high waves and tsunamis”.

While PFZ Advisories provide information on the probable locations on fish aggregation in the seas, OSF provide the accurate state of the ocean. 

The Minister pointed out that “Ocean State Forecasts include the forecasts on winds, waves, ocean currents, water temperature, etc. at every 6 hrs on daily basis for next 5 days helping fishermen in maximizing their earnings, ensuring safety and in planning of fishing activities”.

GEMINI works in off shore and deep sea areas

Normally, the advisories and forecasts are disseminated through multiple communication modes.

These could work and provide such information, including the disaster warnings when the fishermen move away from the coast beyond 10-12 km (typical ranges of mobile phones and VHF).

It was a major limitation in disseminating the information to fishermen who go in the sea beyond 50 nautical miles; sometimes up to 300 nautical miles and beyond to conduct multiday fishing.

Need was felt during Ockhi cyclone

This lacuna was severely felt during the Ockhi cyclone in 2017, when fishermen went out, for deep sea fishing before the onset of the cyclone and could not be informed about the developing cyclone.

This communication gap resulted in loss of life, serious injuries to those rescued and severe damages to fishing boats and fishing gear.

What is Gagan system ?

GAGAN stands for ‘GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation’ project.It is a Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) for the Indian Airspace jointly developed by ISRO and Airports Authority of India (AAI).

It was primarily developed for aircraft navigation.It can be used for intelligent transportation, maritime, highways, railways, surveying, geodesy, security agencies, telecom industry, personal users of position location applications etc.

GAGAN foot-print covers the entire Indian Ocean round the clock.

How GEMINI was developed ?

 Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) joined hands with Airports Authority of India (AAI) to utilize the GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation) satellite system to transmit the PFZ, OSF and disaster warnings to fishermen with GAGAN system consisting of three geosynchronous satellites (GSAT-8, GSAT-10 and GSAT-15). 

To receive the messages transmitted through the GAGAN satellites, INCOIS with AAI developed a low-cost GAGAN system-enabled GEMINI (GAGAN Enabled Mariner’s Instrument for Navigation and Information) device.

Who is manufacturer of GEMINI ?

It was electronically designed and manufactured by a private industry M/S Acord, Bangalore under Make in India Program.

GEMINI system uses display of mobile devices

The GEMINI device receives and transfers the data received from GAGAN satellite/s to a mobile through Bluetooth communication.

A mobile application developed by INCOIS decodes and displays the information in nine regional languages.  

On the occasion, Dr. Harsh Vardhan also inaugurated the PFZ forecasts, newly developed by INCOIS which will provide advisories on PFZ to fishermen 3 days in advance.

The Minister stated “PFZ advisories have become part of the value chain of the fishing community, over 6 lakh fishermen are regularly accessing advisories directly through their mobiles to avoid the wastage of time for searching shoals of fish”.

The PFZ forecasts are generated using numerical models operationalized by INCOIS and helps overcome the operational difficulties in providing the PFZ advisories during overcast skies based on satellite data.

Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Shri Pradeep Singh Kharola; Secretary, MoES, Dr. Madhavan Nair Rajeevan; Chairman, AAI, Shri Anuj Aggarwal; Member, National Disaster Management Authority, Lt Gen N C Marwah and Director, INCOIS, Dr. Satheesh C. Shenoi were also present at the event.

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