Recent Developments of GPS Tsunami Meter foraFar Offshore Observations

  • Yukihiro TeradaEmail author
  • Teruyuki Kato
  • Toshihiko Nagai
  • Shunichi Koshimura
  • Naruyuki Imada
  • Hiromu Sakaue
  • Keiichi Tadokoro
Conference paper
Part of the International Association of Geodesy Symposia book series (IAG SYMPOSIA, volume 145)


A new tsunami observation system using GPS buoys has been developed, which employs the RTK-GPS technique to detect and monitor tsunamis in real-time before they reach the coast. A series of experimental GPS buoys succeeded in detecting three tsunamis with amplitudes of about 10 cm. Following this success, since 2007, the Japanese government has established GPS buoy systems for monitoring sea waves at 19 sites around the Japanese coast. These systems succeeded to detect 11th March 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake tsunami. Through these experiences, we recognized two problems that need to be solved in order to deploy buoys at farther distances from the coast: one is that positioning accuracy decreases as the distance increases and the data transmission by radio becomes difficult for a long distance. In order to overcome these difficulties, first, a new algorithm of PPP-AR for real-time application was employed. The test analysis showed that the positioning accuracy may attain a few centimeters even if the reference GPS network that generates precise orbits and clocks is farther than 1,000 km. Then, a satellite communication system was experimentally used to send data in both directions between the land base and buoy. The data that was obtained on the buoy was transmitted to the land base and was shown on a webpage in real-time, successfully. This kind of system may have further applications of earth science; for example, we are trying to implement GPS/acoustic apparatus for continuous monitoring of ocean floor crustal deformations.


GPS GPS buoy Precise point positioning Satellite communication Tsunami 



The authors would like to express deepest thanks to Mr. G. Hashimoto of and Mr. O. Motohashi of JAXA, Mr. S. Yamamoto of NICT, Mr. A. Wada of Hitachizosen Corporation and many other people for their support to this research. The authors also would like to express sincere thanks to three reviews whose comments significantly improved the manuscript. This work was supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (S) 21221007 and the contracted research of Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.


  1. Fujita M, Ishikawa T, Mochizuki M, Sato M, Toyama S, Katayama M, Kawai K, Matsumoto Y, Yabuki T, Asada A, Colombo OL (2006) GPS/Acoustic seafloor geodetic observation: method of data analysis and its application. Earth Planets Space 58:265–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Kato T, Terada Y, Kinoshita M, Kakimoto H, Issiki H, Matsuishi M, Yokoyama A, Tanno T (2000) Real time observation of tsunami by RTKGPS. Earth Planets Space 52(10):841–845CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Kato T, Terada Y, Ito K, Hattori R, Abe T, Miyake T, Koshimura S, Nagai T (2005) Tsunami due to the 2004 September 5th off the Kii peninsula earthquake, Japan, recorded by a new GPS buoy. Earth Planets Space 57:297–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Kato T, Terada Y, Nishimura H, Nagai T, Koshimura S (2011) Tsunami records due to the 2010 Chile Earthquake observed by GPS buoys established along the Pacific coast of Japan. Earth Planets Space 63:e5–e8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kawai H, Satoh M, Kawaguchi K, Seki K (2011) Characteristics of the 2011 off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku Earthquake Tsunami. Report of the Port and Airport Research Institute, vol 50. pp 3–64Google Scholar
  6. Kido M, Fujimoto H, Miura S, Osada Y, Tsuka K, Tabei T (2006) Seafloor displacement at Kumano-nada caused by the 2004 off Kii Peninsula earthquakes, detected through repeated GPS/Acoustic surveys. Earth Planets Space 58:911–915CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Mervart L, Lukes Z, Rocken C, Iwabuchi T (2008) Precise point positioning with ambiguity resolution in real-time. In: Proceedings of the 21st international technical meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS 2008), Savannah, pp 397–405Google Scholar
  8. Nagai T, Ogawa H, Nukada K, Kudaka M (2004) Characteristics of the observed 2003 Tokachi off earthquake tsunami profile. Coast Eng J 46(3):315–327Google Scholar
  9. Sato M, Ishikawa T, Ujihara N, Yoshida S, Fujita M, Mochizuki M, Asada A (2011a) Displacement above the hypocenter of the 2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake. Science 332:1395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Sato M, Saito H, Ishikawa T, Matsumoto Y, Fujita M, Mochizuki M, Asada A (2011b) Restoration of interplate locking after the 2005 Off-Miyagi Prefecture earthquake, detected by GPS/acoustic seafloor geodetic observation. Geophys Res Lett 38, L01312. doi: 10.1029/2010GL045689 Google Scholar
  11. Spiess FN, Chadwell CD, Hildebrand JA, Young LE, Purecell GH Jr, Dragart H (1998) Precise GPS/Acoustic positioning of seafloor reference points for tectonic studies. Phys Earth Planet Int 108:101–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Tadokoro K, Ikuta R, Watanabe T, Ando M, Okuda T, Nagai S, Yasuda K, Sakata T (2012) Interseismic seafloor crustal deformation immediately above the source region of anticipated megathrust earthquake along the Nankai Trough, Japan. Geophys Res Lett 39, L10306. doi: 10.1029/2012GL051696 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Takahashi N, Ishihara Y, Ochi H, Fukuda T, Tahara J, Maeda Y, Kido M, Ohta Y, Mutoh K, Hashimoto G, Kaneda Y (2014) New buoy observation system for tsunami and crustal deformation. Mar Geophys Res 35(3):243–253. doi:10.1007/s11001-014-9235-7Google Scholar
  14. Terada Y, Kato T, Nagai T, Koshimura S, Miyake T, Nishimura H,Kunihiro S (2011) Development of a tsunami monitoring system using a GPS buoy. In: Proceedings of the international global navigation satellite systems society (IGNSS) symposium, Peer Reviewed Paper, vol 14. pp 1–14Google Scholar
  15. Yamamoto S, Kawasaki K, Terada Y, Kato T, Hashimoto G, Motohashi O, Saida Y, Matsuzawa R (2014) Data transmission experiment from the buoy using the Engineering Test Satellite VIII (ETS-VIII) – the aim of early detection of TSUNAMI. IEICE Technical Report, 2014-8, pp 5–10. (in Japanese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  16. Zumberge JF, Heflin MB, Jefferson DC, Watkins MM, Webb FH (1997) Precise point positioning for the efficient and robust analysis of GPS data from large networks. J Geophys Res 102:5005–5017CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yukihiro Terada
    • 1
    Email author
  • Teruyuki Kato
    • 2
  • Toshihiko Nagai
    • 3
  • Shunichi Koshimura
    • 4
  • Naruyuki Imada
    • 5
  • Hiromu Sakaue
    • 6
  • Keiichi Tadokoro
    • 7
  1. 1.Kochi National College of TechnologyKochiJapan
  2. 2.The University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Echo CorporationTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Tohoku UniversitySendaiJapan
  5. 5.Hitachi Zosen CorporationOsakaJapan
  6. 6.NonTokyoJapan
  7. 7.Nagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan

Personalised recommendations