New App Gives Local Surfers Real-Time Wave Conditions

August 25, 2014

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Ready to hit the beach, but want to know if “surf’s up?”

Now there’s an app for that. The app, developed by researchers in the Conrad Blucher Institute (CBI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, provides the latest wave measurements at one of Corpus Christi’s most popular beaches, Bob Hall Pier.  

“This real-time info is at a surfers’ fingertips,” said Dr. Philippe Tissot, Associate Director of the CBI. “You can see with a quick look if the waves are worth surfing or if you should see a movie instead.”

The simple interface shows a surfer and board with the wave height measured on a chart. Data on air and water temperatures, wind speed and direction, and water level is off to the side.

The Bob Hall Pier beach app can be accessed by clicking here.

The new app is part of a larger project that was made possible by a grant from the Texas General Land Office to develop a Coastal Current Monitoring Network on the Texas coast. Work under the grant will also provide vital information during oil spill events, including near shore currents data. This type of information can also help long-term planning of oil spill responses.

“We are starting with Bob Hall Pier as it is already home to other instrumentation measuring winds, water levels and general conditions, it is close to two inlets and it is an important coastal area,” said Tissot. “But we will also be looking for opportunities to monitor other locations along the coast.” 

Measurements displayed by the app are collected by two current profilers and wave sensors installed at Bob Hall Pier, with cooperation from Nueces County Coastal Parks.

Tissot said the app can also be used in search-and-rescue situations and help beachgoers be alert to conditions that cause rip currents.

Useful and user-friendly apps are part of the future of the research institute, whose research includes developing predictive models for navigation, safety and the management of coastal resources. The Institute released in May the Texas Coastal Winds app (http://cbi-apps.tamucc.edu/tcw/public/ ) that shows real-time wind speeds from Port Isabel to Port Arthur, Texas.

“We are developing new apps for other environmental parameters,” said Tissot. “User-friendly apps complement the CBI’s sophisticated data access tools, presently focusing on scientists and professionals.”