Ferrybox - ships of opportunity

NIVA's Ferrybox system for the collection, analysis and presentation of water quality data combines information from sensors installed on board ships sailing along fixed routes with data from environmental satellites and collected water samples. This automatic monitoring system has been developed and partly financed by NIVA, with support from national and international research projects.

Once every minute, the Ferrybox system measures temperature, salinity, oxygen, chlorophyll and particle content at a depth of four metres along the fixed route of a vessel. This amounts to about one measurement every 500 metres. Some of the ships with Ferrybox equipment also carry advanced instruments for measuring solar radiation and reflection from the ocean surface. The data is transmitted to NIVA in real time.

The system can activate sampling of water from predetermined sites. Sampling can also be triggered by NIVA during a voyage as necessary.

NIVA downloads data from the environmental satellite ENVISAT. This data is processed and presented together with data from the ships.

Use of information from Ferrybox

Information from Ferrybox is used by a number of Norwegian and international research and monitoring projects.

The Norwegian Space Centre and the European Space Agency (ESA) use Ferrybox data for their quality assurance of satellite data. In addition, the information is used by Norway's Climate and Pollution Agency, the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority in monitoring Norwegian coastal waters. NIVA also supplies solutions for various other monitoring purposes.


Example of interactive Ferrybox-measurements. The graph is clickable (external website).

Our Ferrybox routes:


Kai Sørensen, senior researcher, Oceanography and remote sensing

Last updated 17.09.2015