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New satellite-based GEMINI system to warn deep sea fishermen of upcoming disasters

The satellite-based GEMINI system is aimed to provide key alerts and messages to deep-sea fishermen. (File Photo: AP)

In a bid to ensure seamless and effective dissemination of alerts and other important disaster-related information to the fishermen who venture out deeper into the seas, the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) and Airport Authority of India (AAI) on Wednesday launched a new system.

This new system which consists of a specially designed device and a mobile application will expand the scope of sending out alerts and other messages to fishermen who are out in the seas for multiple days for fishing and other related activities, the government said in a release. Presently, the fishermen receive advisories, forecasts and early warnings from a wide range of mechanisms such as Potential Fishing Zones (PFZ) advisories, ocean state forecasts, high wave alerts, tsunami and storm surge early warning services. However, all these messages can only get transmitted up to 10 to 12 km from the coast.

The new system is termed as GEMINI or GAGAN Enabled Mariner's Instrument for Navigation and Information. It is based on GAGAN (GPS-Aided Geo Augmented Navigation) satellite system developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and AAI. The GAGAN satellite system consists of three geosynchronous satellites namely the GSAT-8, GSAT-10 and GSAT-15 and these three cover the entire Indian Ocean region constantly.

Through the new system, all the key alerts and messages would be sent through GAGAN and the designated device will be receiving and transferring it to a mobile phone with the help of Bluetooth communication. The related mobile application would then decode and display the information to the user. It can be decoded into nine languages.

The technology for this new device has been given to Acord, a Bengaluru-based company, the release said.

The GEMINI system was launched by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences. he also launched an improved version of PFZ forecasts developed by INCOIS. This new version is going to provide the advisories three days in advance.

The forecasts are generated with the help of modern tools of numerical models and are expected to help in providing the advisories even when there are overcast skies.

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The development of this new satellite-based advisory service system comes after the gap in communication which was felt during Ockhi cyclone back in November-December 2017. back then, fishermen who were out in the deep sea for fishing before the cyclone's onset could not be informed of the storm which led to the loss of lives and property of the fishermen.