Voyager News

Check here for announcements about new features, datasets, and other Voyager highlights. See also the Twitter account and RSS feed for this page as well as our general PacIOOS newsletter.

Go to the Voyager news archives for: 2015201420132012

Oʻahu HFR Surface Currents Extended

A recent addition to our high-frequency radio (HFR) antenna arrays has extended the spatial coverage of Voyager's surface currents overlay for Oʻahu beginning September 30th, 2015. This new deployment ("kap") at Kapolei on the western coast of Oʻahu better overlaps with measurements at Kaʻena Point in the northwest so that measurements of surface currents now extend further northwards and offshore of the Waianae Coast.

Voyager screenshot of HFR surface currents outlining approximate new spatial coverage added after Kapolei ("kap") deployment; locations of existing Oʻahu HFR antenna arrays labeled with red radio icons:

Posted on: October 2, 2015

New Bathymetry And Enhancements

Voyager screenshot of NOAA/NGDC bathymetry (ocean depth) for Tutuila, American Samoa with white 500-ft depth contour, black coastline, and USGS land elevation shaded in green:

In addition to the Main Hawaiian Islands, Voyager now provides 55 additional bathymetry data sets. These digital elevation models (DEMs) of the ocean bottom provide measurements of ocean depth and can be found in Voyager's "seafloor" category. Compiled from ship-borne multibeam sonar surveys with or without satellite-derived nearshore bathymetry, these include a global 1-km DEM (SRTM30+ v11) as well as the following data available in PacIOOS-supported regions, listed by spatial resolution and data source* (if you know of others, please contact PacIOOS):

American Samoa:

  • American Samoa: 90-m (NGDC)
  • Northeast Bank: 20-m and 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Ofu and Olosega: 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Rose Atoll: 40-m and 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Swains: 40-m and 10-m (PIBHMC)
  • Taʻu: 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Tutuila: 10-m (NGDC) and 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Two Percent Bank: 40-m (PIBHMC)
  • Vailuluʻu: 40-m (PIBHMC)

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI):

  • Marianas: 180-m (NGDC)
  • Agrihan: 10-m and 2-m (PIBHMC)
  • Alamagan: 10-m and 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Asuncion: 10-m and 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Farallón de Medinilla: 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Farallón de Pájaros: 10-m (PIBHMC)
  • Guguan: 10-m (PIBHMC)
  • Marpi Bank: 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Maug Islands: 10-m and 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Pagan: 10-m (PIBHMC)
  • Rota: 60-m and 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Saipan: 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Sarigan: 10-m (PIBHMC)
  • Supply Reef: 10-m (PIBHMC)
  • Tinian: 5-m (PIBHMC)


  • Guam: 10-m (NGDC) and 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Apra Harbor: 1-m (PIBHMC)


  • Main Hawaiian Islands: 50-m (HMRG)
  • Northwestern Hawaiian Islands: 60-m (HURL)

Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI):

  • Majuro: Eastern Reef: 50-m (SOPAC)
  • Majuro: Lagoon: 5-m (SOPAC)

U.S. Minor Outlying Islands (USMOI):

  • Baker Island: 40-m and 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Howland Island: 40-m and 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Jarvis Island: 20-m and 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Johnston Atoll: 20-m and 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Kingman Reef: 20-m and 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Palmyra Atoll: 40-m and 5-m (PIBHMC)
  • Wake Island: 10-m (NGDC)

*Data sources include the following:

  • Hawaiʻi Mapping Research Group (HMRG) (UH/SOEST)
  • Hawaiʻi Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) (UH/SOEST)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC)
  • Pacific Islands Benthic Habitat Mapping Center (PIBHMC) (NOAA/CRED and UH/SOEST)
  • Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC)

These updates also build on Voyager's recently added DEM utilities for improved elevation mapping, including custom color shading, hillshades (topographic relief maps), and contour lines (isolines), which can be arbitrarily combined or viewed separately and provide a wealth of display options seldom found in online mapping sites. By applying shadowing effects, hillshades add depth perception to enhance the three-dimensional (3-D) aspect of the data. Contours are available in both 100 foot and 100 meter increments. Up to five contours can be turned on at once, displayed as either thin or thick lines in black, white, or color. As with many other map overlays in Voyager, clicking the overlay produces a pop-up window with the data value (ocean depth) at the clicked location in a variety of units as well as various data access options.

Voyager screenshot of Maug Islands (CNMI) bathymetry with white 1000-ft depth contour and black coastlines:

Voyager screenshot of Mariana Trench bathymetry with marker at Challenger Deep, the deepest spot on Earth with a depth of 10,898 to 10,916 m (35,755 to 35,814 ft) and located about 300 km (190 mi) southwest of Guam:

a.) color-shaded:

b.) grayscale hillshade with black 20,000-ft depth contour:

Voyager screenshot of American Samoa bathymetry with color-coded depth contours at 1,000 feet (orange), 5,000 feet (green), 10,000 feet (light blue), and 12,000 feet (dark blue):

Voyager screenshot of global 1-km resolution SRTM30+ bathymetry:

These data sets have all been added to the PacIOOS data servers. These servers enable standardized, interoperable, remote access mechanisms like Web Map Service (WMS) and OPeNDAP that Voyager leverages to incorporate, visualize, and redistribute these data to our users. Additionally, they will soon also be viewable in Voyager Mobile.

Posted on: September 29, 2015

New Dolphin and Whale Tracks

Robin Baird of Cascadia Research Collective (CRC) has provided PacIOOS with new satellite tracking data of tagged Hawaiian dolphins and whales from 2006-2012, including bottlenose dolphins (4 tracks: TtTag002-005), rough-toothed dolphins (7 tracks: SbTag001-007), false killer whales (5 tracks: PcTag032-036), pygmy killer whales (3 tracks: FaTag005-007), Blainville's beaked whales (2 tracks: MdTag011-012), and short-finned pilot whales (57 tracks: GmTag004-064). These can now be viewed and animated in Voyager. Dolphin and pilot whale tracks are available in Voyager for the first time, while the other species add new tracks to their existing collections. Look for them under "fish and wildlife" in the "tracking" and "distributions" categories. This supplements the extensive CRC sightings data (direct human observations of species locations) already accessible through Voyager.

Voyager screenshot of short-finned pilot whale track GmTag029 April 29 to June 7, 2009:

Founded in 1979 to conduct research needed to manage and protect threatened marine mammals, CRC has been undertaking surveys for odontocetes and other cetaceans in Hawaiian waters since 2000. For further information, please visit:

Posted on: July 21, 2015

Day/Night Indicator

Voyager now provides an overlay indicating regions where it is currently day and night across the Earth. This can be turned on under Voyager's "More..." map options in the upper-right of the map directly beside its "Map" and "Satellite" basemap buttons and will automatically update every minute to keep itself current. The outer edges of this overlay show where sunset and sunrise are currently occurring while regions of twilight (before dusk or dawn) are shaded in light grey and regions of night are shaded in dark grey. This is especially useful for PacIOOS whose regions span the time zones between Palau (UTC +09:00) and Hawaiʻi (UTC -10:00), totaling 5 hours of difference and crossing the International Date Line.

Voyager screenshot of day/night indicator on July 15, 2015 9:15pm HST; EEZs of PacIOOS regions outlined in blue:

This overlay was made possible using a third-party library for the Google Maps API (nite-overlay), which estimates the sun's position using a method adapted from NOAA's Solar Calculator, itself based on equations from Astronomical Algorithms (1991) by Jean Meeus.

Posted on: July 16, 2015

Global Cloud Imagery

Voyager's "remote sensing" > "satellite data" category now provides global cloud imagery. Previously, Voyager's cloud overlays pulled from NOAA nowCOAST, which did not extend west or south of Hawaiʻi. These have now been replaced by new map services from RealEarth™ of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), including hourly infrared (4-km) and visible (1-km) global composites. (Though poorer in resolution, infrared sensors measure thermal radiation as opposed to sunlight, enabling clouds to be "seen" even during the night.) This improved spatial coverage will allow Voyager's users to track cloud patterns associated with tropical storm systems, hurricanes, and typhoons as they cross the Pacific Ocean.

Voyager screenshot of global infrared imagery showing Typhoons Chan-hom (west) and Nangka (east) surrounding Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) on their way to Japan July 8, 2015 9:00 AM ChST; EEZs outlined in blue:

The images are a collection of approximately 14 satellites—both geostationary (GEO) and low earth-orbiting (LEO)—over the course of 1-hour intervals. Every hour, at 30 minutes past, new imagery is uploaded to SSEC's RealEarth™ map server. Over the course of the hour the most recent satellite imagery is remapped into the composite. At any one point in each image, the source of the measurement may come from any of the satellites in the collection. A rolling archive of the most recent 7 days of hourly images are provided.

For further information, please visit:

Posted on: July 14, 2015

Kwajalein Wave Run-Up Forecast

Voyager now includes a new wave run-up forecast for Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). Developed by Martin Guiles, Doug Luther, and Mark Merrifield of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, this new PacIOOS dataset provides a 6-day forecast of the potential for high sea level and wave inundation along the ocean-facing shorelines of Kwajalein due to the combination of wave run-up, tides, winds, and ocean currents. This complements our existing wave run-up forecasts at Majuro Atoll, RMI as well as Waikīkī and Oʻahu's North Shore in Hawaiʻi. The overlay can be found in Voyager's "hazards: forecasts" category (go there now).

Kwajalein wave run-up forecast on June 30, 2054—times listed in Marshall Islands Time (MHT); if the forecast inundation height extends into the red shaded area, inundation is likely in low-lying areas. Click on the image for further details:

Wave run-up is the maximum height reached by waves along the shore relative to low tide—specifically, mean lower low water (MLLW), which is the average height of the lowest recorded tide. This forecast can alert Kwajalein up to six days in advance of the potential for beach flooding and/or overtopping of nearby roadways. However, this forecast is experimental and no promise of accuracy is implied. Please note that the forecast is explicitly not accurate when either a tsunami, tropical storm, or hurricane warning is in effect.

Posted on: June 30, 2015

Digital Elevation Models (DEMs)

Voyager screenshot of USGS DEM for Tutuila, American Samoa with black 100-m elevation contour:

Voyager now provides access to numerous land surface digital elevation models (DEMs), which can be found in its overlay menu under a new "land" category. These include a global 1-km DEM (SRTM30+ v11) as well as all of the 10-m resolution USGS DEMs available in PacIOOS-supported regions:

American Samoa:

  • Ofu and Olosega
  • Taʻu
  • Tutuila

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI):

  • Aguijan
  • Rota
  • Saipan
  • Tinian

Federated States of Micronesia (FSM):

  • Chuuk
  • Kosrae
  • Pohnpei



  • Big Island
  • Kahoʻolawe
  • Kauaʻi
  • Lānaʻi
  • Maui
  • Molokaʻi
  • Niʻihau
  • Oʻahu


In addition to overlays for mapping elevation values over a range of colors, Voyager also provides the option to add hillshades. By applying shadowing effects, hillshades add depth perception to enhance the three-dimensional (3-D) aspect of the data. As shown in the following examples (Koʻolau range near Kāneʻohe, Oʻahu), hillshades in Voyager can be turned off, viewed by themselves, or viewed in combination with a color elevation overlay:

Overlay: Hillshade: Overlay + Hillshade:

As with many other map overlays in Voyager, clicking the overlay produces a pop-up window with the data value (elevation) at the clicked location as well as various data access options. Several aspects of the overlay are configurable such as opacity, units of measure (feet, meters, miles, etc.), and color scheme.

Voyager also provides elevation contours in both 100 foot and 100 meter increments. These can be turned on separately or in conjunction with the map overlay and/or hillshade. Up to five contours can be turned on at once, displayed as either thin or thick lines in black, white, or color. If color is selected, the contours are color-coded according to their elevation and a map legend is displayed. The contours can be hovered over or clicked on to see their elevation. Clicking the contour produces a pop-up window that provides a link to the underlying GeoJSON data file. As always, a URL that captures all of your final map settings can be saved to share your view with others using the "link" button in the upper-right of Voyager's screen.

Voyager screenshot of elevation contours for Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi at 100, 500, 1000, 2000, and 3500 feet:

Voyager screenshot of USGS DEM for Pohnpei, FSM with white 500-m elevation contour:

Voyager screenshot of USGS DEM hillshade for Kosrae, FSM:

Voyager screenshot of global 1-km resolution SRTM30+ DEM:

These DEMs have been added to the PacIOOS data servers. Formal metadata available here. These servers enable standardized, interoperable, remote access mechanisms like Web Map Service (WMS) and OPeNDAP that Voyager leverages to incorporate, visualize, and redestribute these data to our users. Additionally, they are also now viewable in Voyager Mobile. Our next goal is to expand Voyager's bathymetry offerings with similar capabilities and coverage beyond Hawaiʻi.

Posted on: June 18, 2015

HFR Surface Currents: Hilo Bay

PacIOOS recently deployed new high-frequency radio (HFR) antenna arrays to estimate surface currents in and around Hilo Bay on the windward (Eastern) coast of Hawaiʻi Island (Big Island), extending our HFR capabilities beyond Oʻahu for the first time. These low-power radio transmitters listen for the Doppler-shifted signal reflected back from the ocean to derive the direction and speed of surface currents. Stationed at Pepeʻekeo and Keaukaha at the northern and southern edges of the bay, respectively, the overlap in detection between these two sites extends 15 miles offshore of Hilo Harbor.

As before, HFR overlays can be found in Voyager in a category titled "surface currents (HFR)" under the "remote sensing" folder. To accommodate this new HFR location, the category now includes a pull-down menu that allows users to select between Oʻahu and Hilo. Even though data for both locations are included in the overlay, choosing a location from this pull-down menu zooms to the selected coverage area and records its latest available timestamp automatically (there may be times when one site has more recent data than the other, depending on outages and other factors).

Voyager screenshot of Hilo HFR overlay for June 10, 2015 at 11:00 AM HST; locations of antenna arrays labeled with red radio icons:

Voyager screenshot of pop-up window when clicking on the HFR overlay:

Maps of surface currents are available across the United States as part of the National HFRNet. Overlays are provided in a variety of spatial resolutions (1 km, 2 km, 6 km) and temporal resolutions (hourly or daily).

These data were generated as part of an academic research project. Accuracy cannot be guaranteed and caution is advised. While considerable effort has been made to implement all data components in a thorough, correct, and accurate manner, numerous sources of error are possible. Principal investigator Pierre Flament specifically cautions users regarding dilution of precision in the line joining the two HFR sites (Pepeʻekeo and Keaukaha). Along this line, the component of the vectors orthogonal to the line cannot be resolved and is extremely noisy.

Posted on: June 10, 2015

Coastlines Added To Voyager

When overlaying certain maps in Voyager—especially those overlapping land like wind, air temperature, Doppler radar, etc.—the underlying basemaps from Google Maps can become hidden beneath them. While Voyager provides opacity sliders in these cases for allowing the basemap to show through, it is sometimes desirable to map coastlines on top of other overlays to better elucidate the location of islands and other geographic features.

Towards that end, Voyager now provides a coastline overlay, which can be found under navigation geographic boundaries. This layer was compiled at PacIOOS from various data sources and displays the coastlines for PacIOOS-supported regions, including American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Guam, Hawaiʻi, Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), and U.S. Minor Outlying Islands: Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Palmyra Atoll, and Wake Island. The overlay provides a set of four output styles, including a thin or thick outline in either black or white, to help users optimize its display depending on which basemap and overlays are being viewed.

Voyager screenshot of Hawaiʻi coastlines in white on top of WRF wind forecast (click here for larger image):

Voyager screenshot of Guam coastlines in black on top of WRF surface air temperature forecast:

PacIOOS also provides a Web Map Service (WMS) for this data set. This interoperable Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standard helps users who may want to incorporate map imagery of this layer into other mapping applications: WMS GetCapabilities. Look for layer name pac_comp_all_shore and choose from one of its optional style parameters.

Posted on: March 4, 2015

Underwater Cables Layer Expanded

To support coastal and ocean planning, Voyager maps some of the known submarine cables. This can be found in Voyager's seafloor super-category filed under seafloor infrastructure where it is labeled underwater cables. Until now, this overlay only extended to the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI). As recently requested by a Voyager user, we have now replaced this layer with a Web Map Service (WMS) provided by NOAA's Office for Coastal Management (OCM) that covers the coastal and offshore regions for the entire United States as well as Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). It now extends far beyond the MHI, showing cables reaching into the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Johnston Atoll, Palmyra Atoll, Kingman Reef, and from the MHI to the continental United States. As described in the metadata for this data set, data were derived by NOAA's Office of Coast Survey (OCS) from 2010 NOAA Electronic Navigation Charts (ENC) and 2009 NOAA Raster Nautical Charts (RNC).

Voyager screenshot of underwater cables in pink; exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of PacIOOS-supported regions outlined in blue:

Posted on: March 3, 2015

Voyager Performance Tuning

Owing to various Web performance tuning strategies, Voyager's initial page load is now three times faster. We recently investigated this issue after several users began reporting sluggish page loads using either Safari or Internet Explorer as their Web browser (in contrast, Firefox and Google Chrome continue to render the page more expediently). Through a combination of the following techniques, page speed has now tripled: enabling compression on our Web server, leveraging browser caching, converting images to sprite sheets, minifying CSS and JavaScript, calling JavaScript asynchronously, refactoring our code base, and removing obsolete or deprecated features. We thank those who reported the problem and hope all enjoy the improvement. As always, if you have questions or further suggestions for improvement, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Posted on: February 27, 2015

Voyager Usability Improvements

Based on user feedback, we have implemented several improvements to Voyager's user interface (UI) design. We occasionally hear that the number of configurable options in some of Voyager's map categories can be overwhelming, particularly to new users. In an effort to simplify things, many of these features are now moved under a "map options" sub-folder. Often these features are advanced capabilities for tweaking the color, style, and/or behavior of the data display: nice to have in specialized cases but not critical for using the data. (And if you are ever confused about one of the map options, please note that many provide usage tips in a pop-up window when you click on them.)

Furthermore, we now visually distinguish the various datasets and their options using different shades of background colors. Because of the large number of options related to certain overlays, this was done to improve readability. In order to implement this, we also removed the wave image from behind the menu bar, which some users thought distracted from the text anyhow. As always, if you have questions or further suggestions for improvement, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Voyager screenshot of the "waves" menu: a.) old style, b.) new style, c.) after clicking on "PacIOOS wave buoys", d.) after expanding the new "map options" folder for the waves category:

a.) b.) c.) d.)

Voyager screenshot of the "surface currents (HFR)" menu: a.) old style, b.) new style, c.) after expanding the "map options" folder:

a.) b.) c.)

Voyager screenshot of the "ocean forecast" menu: a.) old style, b.) new style, c.) after expanding the "map options" folder:

a.) b.) c.)

Posted on: January 26, 2015

Additional Satellite Datasets

Voyager's "remote sensing" > "satellite data" category now contains a few additional datasets. Voyager continues to provide daily, weekly, and monthly Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) global sea surface temperature (SST) at a spatial resolution of 0.1 degrees (approximately 8 km per pixel). We now also provide the higher resolution Global 1-km Sea Surface Temperature (G1SST) daily composite produced by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Spanning June 2010 up to the present, this blended product optimally interpolates SST observations from multiple satellite instruments and in situ observations, including the following:

  • Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR)
  • Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS (AMSR-E)
  • Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR)
  • Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) Imager
  • Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)
  • Multi-Functional Transport Satellite 1R (MTSAT-1R) Radiometer
  • Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI)
  • Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI)
  • in situ data from drifting and moored buoys

Voyager screenshots comparing sea surface temperature (SST) for January 10, 2015 around Hawaiʻi:

a.) G1SST (1 km resolution) (click here for larger image):

b.) AVHRR (8 km resolution) (click here for larger image):

We also now provide additional biology-related satellite data derived from the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). In addition to MODIS estimates of chlorophyll-a concentration that Voyager already provides, the system now distributes daily, weekly, and monthly composites of chromophoric (or colored) dissolved organic matter (CDOM), particulate organic carbon (POC), and particulate inorganic carbon (PIC) for the time period spanning 2003 up to the present. Produced by the Ocean Biology Processing Group (OBPG) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), these products help scientists gain a better understanding of phytoplankton and their impact on the Earth system through the oceanic carbon cycle.

Voyager screenshot of MODIS monthly colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) for November 2014:

Voyager screenshot of MODIS monthly particulate organic matter (POC) for November 2014:

Voyager screenshot of MODIS monthly particulate inorganic matter (PIC) for November 2014:

These new Voyager data offerings are hosted by the NOAA OceanWatch West Coast regional node at the Pacific Fisheries Environmental Laboratory (PFEL) in Pacific Grove, California, who gather the data from their respective providers and re-serve them via THREDDS Data Server (TDS) and ERDDAP. These servers enable standardized, interoperable, remote access mechanisms like Web Map Service (WMS) and OPeNDAP that Voyager leverages to incorporate, visualize, and redestribute these data to our users.

As with other satellite data in Voyager, click on the overlay to plot and download data:

Posted on: January 12, 2015

ALOHA Cabled Observatory (ACO): Live Video Feed

The University of Hawaiʻi's ALOHA Cabled Observatory (ACO) is located 100 km (62 mi) north of the island of Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi in the North Pacific Ocean, approximately 1.2 km (0.75 mi) southwest of Station ALOHA ("A Long-term Oligotrophic Habitat Assessment"). Since June 2011 it has been providing real-time oceanographic observations from a depth of 4,800 m (2.9 mi) via a submarine fiber optic cable that comes ashore at Mākaha on Oʻahu.

In addition to live audio and other ACO measurements added to Voyager earlier in December, we now provide the ability to view a live video feed at the site. A video camera was added to the ACO instrumentation during the ACO-3 cruise on November 1, 2014 and is now streaming live over the internet. The camera view periodically changes over time, pointing at or away from the ACO instruments on the ocean floor. As shown in some of these ACO video clips, you may be lucky enough to spot a sea cucumber, shrimp, jellyfish, squid, or other deep sea life passing by!

Voyager screenshot of ACO overlay showing ability to stream live video:

For further information, please visit:

Posted on: January 6, 2015

Go to the Voyager news archives for: 2015201420132012


Please consider acknowledging PacIOOS in any distribution or publication of data as follows: Data provided by PacIOOS (, which is a part of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®), funded in part by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Award #NA11NOS0120039.