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Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

International Space Station

It will be visible beginning tonight, Friday, August 19th, at 7:55 PM. It will be visible for approximately 3 minutes at a Maximum Height of 75 degrees. It will appear 21 degrees above the Northwest part of the sky and disappear 40 degrees above the South Southeast part of the sky.

NEHLA and County of Hawaii Host Energy Storage Conference

The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) announced today that it is partnering with the County of Hawaii to host a conference on energy storage trends and opportunities in Kailua-Kona on Sept. 12 and 13.

The NEHLA Plant from above

The NEHLA Plant from above

”As the state works to reach its 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2045, energy storage will be necessary to address increasing amounts of variable resources brought into the grid,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “This conference will bring together experts from U.S. National Laboratories, academia, government and industry to present energy storage technologies and applications and consider opportunities and challenges.”

“We are excited about the caliber of the speakers that will be presenting,” said Gregory Barbour, NELHA’s executive director. “This conference brings together experienced scientists, engineers, and policymakers to discuss energy storage and microgrid initiatives, issues and projects. This is an area that is not only at the forefront of renewable energy but also critical to widespread implementation of intermittent renewable technologies such as solar and wind technologies.”

The conference, which is supported in part by the County of Hawaii, includes presentations and panel discussions as well as visits to site demonstrations. It aims to have the latest information presented by leaders in energy storage technology, particularly on the economics of energy storage. Meeting participants will also discuss opportunities as well as regulatory and policy issues.

“We are pleased to partner with NELHA on this conference in an effort to bring leaders in the field of energy storage to the Island of Hawaii to share their insight and explore opportunities” stated Mayor Billy Kenoi. “Hawaii Island is already generating 50 percent renewable energy and grid-scale energy storage is certainly part of the equation for building towards our 100 percent goal”.

Attendance to the conference is open to the public.

Registration information is located at: nelhaenergystorage2016.hawaii-conference.com/.

Tax System Modernization – Limited Service August 11-12, 2016

The Department of Taxation will be transferring taxpayer data to the Department’s new tax information computer system on August 11-12, 2016, as part of its Tax System Modernization program. Taxpayer services which require access to the current tax information computer system, including the processing of tax clearance requests, may be temporarily limited August 11-12, 2016.

Department of Taxation

All of the Department’s District Tax Offices will be open and continue to serve the public during regular office hours of 7:45am to 4:30pm on August 11-12, 2016. The Kona Office has new office hours of 8:00am to 4:00pm.

Taxpayer information and services that do not require Department staff to access the computer system will continue throughout the data migration on August 11-12, 2016. Services that require access to taxpayer accounts, including the issuance of tax clearances, will be temporarily limited during these dates. The Department is unable to process any new requests for tax clearances August 11-12, 2016.

We apologize in advance for the inconvenience this may cause taxpayers. The new tax systems will ultimately result in better taxpayer service and improved enforcement of tax laws.

For more information about Tax System Modernization, please visit our website at tax.hawaii.gov

Hawaiian Electric Companies Launch Improved Mobile Websites Optimized for Smart Phones and Tablets

To provide customers with greater convenience, the Hawaiian Electric Companies have made it easier to use smart phones and tablets to access and update electric account information and to use an online tool to decide whether rooftop solar power is right for them.

Helco new site“More than 30 percent of our customers who use our website access it from mobile devices. As technology evolves, we want to provide our customers with more options and ensure they have the best possible experience,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service.

The Online Customer Service Center, which customers use to access their electric accounts, has been updated to improve navigation and viewing on any mobile device. Rather than designing one size for all mobile devices, the new sites are responsive and will scale to fit the screen of any smart phone or smaller tablet, such as an iPad Mini, without having to zoom in and zoom out. When viewing the site on a full-sized iPad or similar device with larger displays, customers will still see the full desktop version of the website.

The websites also feature a streamlined log-in process for customers to access their accounts or to sign up for a new online account. The improved mobile sites also make it easier than ever to start and stop service and sign up for services such as Automatic Bill Payment and paperless billing.

To access the sites, use any mobile web browser and navigate to:

Online solar tool optimized for mobile access

To help customers make informed decisions about rooftop solar energy systems, the free WattPlan® calculator for rooftop solar has also been updated to be fully mobile-responsive. WattPlan can help customers considering rooftop solar to estimate electric bill savings based on their electricity use, current rates, and available rebates and tax credits.

Customers may also compare outright purchase to financing a solar system to understand the long-term impact on household budgets. Customers can find this tool at hawaiianelectric.com/WattPlan.

Internet Connectivity Restored to County of Hawaii

Internet connectivity has been restored to the County of Hawai’i, and all impacted services are once again available. Mahalo for your patience and understanding.

County of Hawaii Experiencing Internet Difficulties

The County of Hawai’i is experiencing difficulties with its internet connection this morning.

The following services are still available, but may experience longer than usual wait times:

  • early walk-in voting
  • real property tax payments
  • building permits

The following services are unavailable until connectivity is restored, however, the offices remain open to answer any questions.

  • vehicle registration, new and renewal
  • driver licensing, new and renewal

Crews are working to restore connectivity as soon as possible, and an update will be issued once systems are up. Mahalo for your patience and understanding.

Hawaii State Judiciary Website Voted #1 in the Nation

The Hawaii State Judiciary’s website has been voted number one in the National Association for Court Management’s (NACM) Top 10 Court Technology Solutions Awards for 2016.

judiciaryThis year’s awards were presented during the organization’s annual conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The awards are given each year to courts that make the best use of technology to improve court services and access to the public.

Entries from across the United States were reviewed by the COSCA/NACM/NCSC Joint Technology Committee, a panel of judges appointed by the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA), National Association for Court Management (NACM), and National Center for State Courts (NCSC).

Joint Technology Committee Co-Chair Kevin J. Bowling, J.D., explained that the panel of judges used a variety of criteria for comparing the award submissions, including: interactive capabilities; ease of access to public records; user interface; optimization for mobile devices; and accessibility. He noted that in their assessment of this year’s nominees, the nine committee judges were uniformly impressed with the Hawaii State Judiciary website.

“In part, the success of the Hawaii State Judiciary’s website was due to the innovations Hawaii has used to significantly improve access to the courts – especially for self-represented litigants and those with limited English proficiency,” said Bowling. “Hawaii certainly includes information in more languages than the majority of U.S. courts and the website is easy to navigate. While some sites have lots of ‘bells and whistles,’ Hawaii’s website is clear, concise, and information is easy to find.”

In addition to the significant range of court process information, the community outreach information contained in the Hawaii State Judiciary’s YouTube Channel impressed the judges.

“I’d like to thank the members of the Joint Technology Committee for this honor. Their expert feedback will guide us as we continue to improve our website and our access to the courts,” said Rodney Maile, Administrative Director of the Hawaii State Judiciary. “I’d also like to thank the Judiciary’s Communications and Community Relations Office, the Office on Equality and Access to the Courts, and our partners at the Hawaii Information Consortium for the many hours of work they put into the website. Their dedication reflects the Judiciary’s commitment to providing meaningful access to court processes and services to all persons, including those with limited English proficiency (LEP), those with disabilities, and self-represented litigants.”

Big Island Customer Grid-Supply Approaching Capacity Limit for Big Island

Customers who want solar still have options even as the capacity limit for rooftop solar systems that send excess power to the Hawaii Island grid is almost reached.

The Customer Grid-Supply program is approaching the 5-megawatt capacity limit set by the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for Hawaii Island. As of this week, the capacity of approved systems under the grid-supply program totals over four megawatts. However, customers will still be able to buy rooftop systems that don’t export to the grid but still offset a substantial part of their electric bill.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Under a Customer Self-Supply option, households are able to generate their own electricity and potentially store energy for use after the sun goes down. The PUC created the self-supply program as an alternative to the grid-supply program.

“On Hawaii Island, renewable energy is at an all-time high and comprises almost 50 percent of our generation mix,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawaii Electric Light president. “Rooftop solar power is an important part of our plans to get to 100 percent renewable energy and we’re continuing to develop more options for customers to support our state’s renewable energy goals.”

Solar providers are developing a variety of self-supply systems that meet the technical specifications set by the PUC. This will ensure continued safe, reliable service for all customers and provide opportunities for more customers to enjoy the benefits of solar energy.

For more information, go to https://www.hawaiielectriclight.com/distributedenergyresources.

Customers on Oahu may continue to apply for the Grid-Supply program. Customers should choose a system that’s the right size for their household, meaning the system matches their actual energy use. Buying a system that is larger than necessary will cost more upfront and will not necessarily save more money than a right-sized system. In addition, customers who install right-sized systems help leave room on the grid for more customers to have rooftop solar.

Self-Supply Solar a New Option for Homeowners

A new kind of rooftop solar system that enables households to generate their own electricity and to potentially store energy for use after the sun goes down is now being approved by the Hawaiian Electric Companies and installed on island homes.

Tesla Solar PaneThe new systems, believed to be the first of their kind in the U.S., are being installed under Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Customer Self-Supply Program, an alternative to the popular Customer Grid-Supply Program.

The systems are being developed specifically for the Hawaii market and use new inverter technology to provide power to the home but prevent any excess electricity from being exported to the grid. That’s important because, unlike the interconnected power grids on the mainland, there’s a physical limit to the amount of electricity that can be put on island grids at any given moment.

A growing number of these self-supply systems, including products sold by SolarCity, Sunrun, Vivint Solar and RevoluSun, now meet the specifications set by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Hawaiian Electric has been working with these companies to develop standard technical specifications that will qualify systems for an expedited approval and potentially faster installation.

The PUC created the Customer Self-Supply Program as an alternative to the grid-supply program, especially once the grid-supply capacity limits established by the commission were met.

The island’s first approved self-supply rooftop system was recently turned on at a home in Honolulu. Sixteen others on Oahu have been approved by Hawaiian Electric. Maui Electric has approved seven self-supply systems that are awaiting installation.

“Generating electricity, storing it, and using the energy on-site is the new normal. This product will help make the grid stronger and more reliable,” said Jon Yoshimura, director of policy and electricity markets for SolarCity, which recently installed a self-supply system with batteries at a home in Manoa.

“Hawaiian Electric has been an effective partner, working with us to streamline the approval process for this new product. We look forward to bringing more Smart Energy Home solutions to Hawaii, which will help the state achieve its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045.”

The Customer Grid-Supply program, which credits customers for the excess electricity they send to the grid, is still available on Oahu, though space is going fast. Maui Electric recently reached the capacity limit set by the PUC and Hawaii Island is nearing the limit, but self-supply is available.

For Oahu customers who choose the grid-supply program, Hawaiian Electric recommends a “right-sized” system calculated for the household’s actual energy use rather than an oversized system designed mainly to sell electricity to the grid.

Oversized systems cost more and can potentially export more electricity than the homeowner will receive credit for on their electric bill, since credits expire at the end of each month. Also, the more large systems that are installed on each island, the less room that will be left on the grid for customers who may want to install solar in the future.

“It’s been five years since rooftop solar really took off in Hawaii and more than 77,000 customers have made the choice to use it,” said Jim Alberts, senior vice president of customer service at Hawaiian Electric. “The shift to self-supply is an important evolutionary step to ensure that the rooftop solar option remains sustainable, cost-effective and available to some of the 85 percent of customers who don’t have it.”

For more information, including how to right-size a system, go to https://www.hawaiianelectric.com/clean-energy-hawaii/going-solar

HTDC Awards More Than $3 Million in Grants to Hawaii Companies

The High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) recently awarded $3,273,533 in funding from two grant programs to 13 Hawaii companies to help support development of new products to solve critical issues. In addition to state funding, the federal government awarded nearly $20 million in research and development grants to the same companies.

HTDC

The projects receiving funding include: developing next generation 5G technology; enhancing the immune response of inactivated dengue fever vaccines; developing methods for marine fish that can eat invasive algae; and increasing the efficiencies in the design of aerospace vehicles.

Hawaii Small Business Innovation Research Program (HSBIR)
The Hawaii Small Business Innovation Research program (HSBIR) provides funding to companies developing new technology products. There are four phases to the program, with each progressive phase allowing for more extensive funding. Six companies were awarded Phase 1 grants, which funds projects through the earliest stages of product development; and seven companies were granted Phase 2 funding to accelerate getting their products into market. The companies include:

HSBIR Phase 1 Grants:

  • Diagenetix, Inc. ($49,000)
  • Hawaii Biotech ($30,000)
  • Kampachi Farms, LLC ($30,000)
  • Nalu Scientific, LLC ($74,548)
  • Oceanit Laboratories ($40,000)
  • Spectrum Photonics ($49,985)

HSBIR Phase 2 Grants:

  • Hawaii Evolutionary Development, LLC ($346,750)
  • Hawaii Fish Company ($146,250)
  • HNu Photonics ($350,000)
  • Makai Ocean Engineering ($325,000)
  • Spectrum Photonics ($350,000)
  • Studio Kinection ($320,000)
  • Terasys Technologies ($162,000)

Hawaii Office of Naval Research (HONR) Program

  • In addition to the HSBIR grants, HTDC awarded $1 million in matching funds to three companies through the Hawaii Office of Naval Research (HONR) program, a two-year pilot effort to develop energy projects funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

HONR Grants:

  • Makai Ocean Engineering ($400,000)
  • Navatek, Ltd. ($300,000)
  • Oceanit Laboratories ($300,000)

“In today’s competitive global landscape, these grants help to support our local businesses as they create new and unique products,” said Luis P. Salaveria, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, which oversees HTDC and promotes Hawaii’s innovation economy. “We are committed to supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners who help drive Hawaii’s economy.”

“We’re thrilled to be able to support these local companies in their research and development efforts through HTDC’s grant programs,” said Robbie Melton, executive director and CEO of HTDC. “Coupled with federal grants, these companies will have resources to continue to develop their technology from concept into a product. Only 20 percent of companies applying for Federal Small Business Innovation Research grants receive funding. The fact that these companies were awarded Federal SBIR grants is a testament to the important research they are doing.”

Blue Jay Wireless to Pay $2Million, Ending Investigation Into Its Tribal Lifeline Reimbursements in Hawaii

The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau announced that it has reached a settlement with Blue Jay Wireless to resolve an investigation into whether the company improperly enrolled several thousand Hawaiian customers as eligible for enhanced Tribal support reimbursements from the FCC’s Lifeline program.

blue jay

The Lifeline program provides a discount on phone service so that low-income consumers have access to the communications tools necessary to connect with jobs, family, and emergency services.

Qualifying low-income consumers who reside on Tribal lands, which include Hawaiian Home Lands in the State of Hawaii, are eligible for higher support from the Lifeline program (up to an additional $25 per month).

Under the settlement, Blue Jay will reimburse the Universal Service Fund approximately $2 million and adopt substantial compliance procedures. “The Lifeline program is vital to millions of consumers in cities, rural areas, and tribal lands who rely upon it every day to connect with loved ones, interview for jobs, and contact emergency services,” said Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc. “This settlement makes clear that no Lifeline provider should turn a blind eye to potential fraud on the program.”

The Enforcement Bureau’s Universal Service Fund Strike Force conducted the investigation of  Blue Jay, which is headquartered in Texas and is eligible to participate in Lifeline in 17 states and Puerto Rico. The investigation found that Blue Jay had incorrectly requested and received Lifeline Tribal reimbursements for enrolled consumers who did not reside on Hawaiian Home Lands.

In 2014, Hawaii Public Utilities Commission staff informed Blue Jay that the number of Tribal consumers it was claiming appeared to exceed the number of households on Hawaiian Home Lands. Despite knowing that Blue Jay could be improperly claiming enhanced Tribal support reimbursements, Blue Jay continued to seek reimbursement for those improper consumers while it sought to gather more accurate information about its Hawaiian Home Lands Tribal consumers.

This settlement ensures a total of $2,002,000 in reimbursements by Blue Jay to the Universal Service Fund, including the company’s forfeiture of $918,010 in Lifeline disbursements that the Commission has already frozen. Blue Jay also will develop and implement a compliance plan to ensure appropriate procedures are incorporated into its business practices to prevent the enrollment of ineligible Tribal consumers, including the use of an approved software tool to identify and verify the accuracy of consumers’ self-certification of their residency on Tribal Lands.

Last year, the Commission sought public comment on whether to require additional evidence of \residency on Tribal lands beyond self-certification and how carriers should provide proof of eligibility to prevent waste, fraud and abuse of enhanced support. More information can be found here: http://go.usa.gov/xcHNT.

This is the second Lifeline enforcement action this year. In April, the Commission announced that it planned to fine Total Call Mobile $51 million for apparently enrolling tens of thousands of ineligible and duplicate consumers in the Lifeline program. A copy of the Total Call Mobile Notice of Apparent Liability can be found here: http://go.usa.gov/xcH5R.

 

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

International Space Station

It will be visible beginning tonight, Sunday, July 24, at 8:11 PM. It will be visible for approximately 4 minutes at a Maximum Height of 62 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the South Southwest part of the sky and disappear 30 degrees above the East Northeast part of the sky.

Facebook Using Safety Check Feature for Tropical Storm Darby

Well I have heard of the Facebook “Safety Check” feature that happens on Facebook when natural disasters happen or major things like terrorist attacks.

Never in my mind did I think I would ever have it pop up on my Facebook timeline, but tonight it did!
Facebook Safety CheckI marked myself “safe” of course.  I could have marked some of my friends that I know are safe as well… but I figure I’ll let them do that so they get the opportunity to use the new feature themselves.

State Engages Tech Community to Help Improve Government

Gov. David Y. Ige, the Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS), and the State of Hawaii Transformation Internship Program (TIP) will host the Hawaii Annual Code Challenge (HACC) in Honolulu from Aug. 27 to Sept. 24, 2016, with a kickoff event on Saturday, Aug. 27, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Aloha Tower Marketplace (Multi-Purpose Room 3).

code challengePresented in partnership with local nonprofit Hawaii Open Data, the month-long event is being held to engage the local tech community in the modernization of Hawaii state government.

“We are reaching out to local talent to identify innovative, out-of-the-box solutions to government service needs, ultimately promoting an efficient, effective and open state government,” said state Chief Information Officer (CIO) Todd Nacapuy. “The event is also a way to support and help develop our local IT workforce, which is critical to our state’s technological future. Skilled IT personnel are in demand across all sectors — public and private — and creating opportunities for local talent to gain experience and showcase their work helps us all.”

HACC is open to everyone, from students to professionals to amateurs “born to code.” Participants are invited to compete in elementary school, middle school, high school, college and open categories.

A first of its kind for the state, HACC is based on the concept of a hackathon, a problem-solving event that brings together creative individuals over a set duration. Hackathons serve a variety of purposes, from exploring a new technology or programming language to encouraging economic growth through technology development, and they are often sponsored by companies, nonprofit groups, and other organizations. But rather than the traditional around-the-clock development over a single day or weekend, HACC will offer an extended period for development over one month.

The kickoff event will include team formation, foundational training, and workshops. In addition, participants will select from a list of challenges themed around key problems facing the state, and then work over the next several weeks to develop their solutions. The expanded month-long timeframe is meant to encourage sustainable solutions that are appropriately matched with technologies and platforms in use or being considered by the state.

Participants will return on Sept. 24 to present their solutions for judging and winner selection. Awards will go to top participants, and outstanding projects will be considered for implementation.

Rules and judging criteria will be announced prior to the kickoff event, with the list of challenges to be announced at the event itself.

Prior to the kickoff, participants are encouraged to submit their own ideas for state-related challenges facing the citizens of Hawaii. Submissions will be considered for inclusion in the challenge pool.

For more information, latest updates as well as registration and challenge idea submission, visit HACC.hawaii.gov.

Robotics and STEM Events Receive Funding From Hawaiian Electric

sgcAs part of its 2016 second quarter contributions, the Hawaiian Electric Companies have donated $20,000 to the Hawaii Space Grant Consortium for the:

  • Pan Pacific VEX (high school) and VEX IQ (elementary and middle school) Championships, Oct. 7-9 at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Campus Kekuhaupio Gym. Initiated in 2008 as a means to have Hawaii teams participate in an international robotics tournament, the Pan Pacific VEX has hosted more than 100 teams from China, Taiwan, the U.S. mainland and Hawaii, growing to become at one time the second largest VEX tournament in the world. The Hawaiian Electric Companies’ support will help to reinstate the Pan Pacific VEX Championship which has not been held for the past two years.
  • Astronaut Lacy Veach Day of Discovery, Oct. 29 at Punahou School. The event honors the late Astronaut Charles Lacy Veach who considered Honolulu his home, and promotes interest in science and technology among educators, students and their families. The 2016 event will include hands-on workshops, displays and a VEX IQ qualifying robotics tournament involving 18 school teams. Hawaiian Electric is a founding sponsor of the event that was first held in 2002. Company employees continue to actively participate in providing workshops, a display and volunteers at the event.
  • 2016-17 Hawaiian Electric Companies Hawaii State High School and Middle School VEX Championships, featuring the high school event on Jan. 5, 2017 at Keaau High School on Hawaii Island, and the middle school event on Jan. 7, 2017 at Stevenson Middle School on Oahu. In these team-based games, first held in 2013, students must design, build and control their robots to participate in various skills challenges that demonstrate their grasp of STEM concepts. The event will qualify teams to participate in the 2017 Worlds VEX Championships.

To date in 2016, the Hawaiian Electric Companies have provided more than $60,000 in corporate contributions to advance STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning and enrichment programs for Hawaii students and educators, including math and science bowls, engineering and science fairs, education summits, robotic programs, and STEM projects and events.

Company employees also volunteer countless hours to provide student mentoring as well as staffing at robotic tournaments, science, engineering and math fairs, and other related events. Hawaiian Electric has supported STEM programs and initiatives in Hawaii for more than 30 years and contributed more than $1 million during that time.

Good Outdoor Ethics Encouraged as “POKEMON GO” Craze Impacts Hawaii

A DLNR Division of State Parks employee reports that two people searching for virtual reality Pokemon Go figures wandered into a sensitive heiau on Kauai where a cultural protocol was underway.

Pokemon Hawaii

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “Unfortunately, we are quickly seeing unintended consequences of this new application by Google, in the outdoor issues that the hunt for Pokemon characters via digital devices can create, for both cultural and natural resources here in Hawai’i and elsewhere.”

In the first week since the release of Pokemon Go, the media has reported on two men walking off a cliff in California while using the app.  This increases the potential of increasing public safety and unauthorized access problems for local people and visitors venturing into our state parks, onto our trails and onto beaches, when paying attention to electronics rather than trails and signs.

This phenomenon provides a good opportunity to remind people to practice good outdoor ethics.  Curt Cottrell, DLNR Division of State Parks Administrator reminds folks heading into the outdoors:

  • Be safe.  Use electronic devices responsibly and in emergencies to call for help. Distracted hiking, like distracted driving, can lead to accidents.
  • Stay on designated trails.  Follow all signs and closures.  Do not trespass, or enter natural or cultural areas where access is prohibited.
  • Carry out what you carry in.  Leave no trace.

“We want and encourage people to enjoy all of the outstanding natural and cultural resources  Hawai’i has to offer.  Given the release of Pokemon Go, this is an opportune time to remind everyone that these resources can and should be enjoyed in a pono way,” Case concluded.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Adds New Live Webcam to View Lava Flow 61G

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has added a new live web camera so that folks can view the new Lava Flow “61G” from the comforts of your own home:

Click to view

Click to view

This image is from a research camera positioned on Holei Pali, looking east towards Lava Flow 61G and Kalapana.

Click here to view at anytime:  Lava Flow 61G and Kalapana

Disclaimer:
The webcams are operational 24/7 and faithfully record the dark of night if there are no sources of incandescence or other lights. Thermal webcams record heat rather than light and get better views through volcanic gas. At times, clouds and rain obscure visibility. The cameras are subject to sporadic breakdown, and may not be repaired immediately. Some cameras are observing an area that is off-limits to the general public because of significant volcanic hazards.

Robot Swims to the Big Island After Help Fighting Illegal Fishing in the South Pacific

Liquid Robotics, the leader in long-duration, unmanned ocean robots, announced that a Wave Glider swam 2,808 nautical miles (5200 km) to the Big Island of Hawaii after successfully completing a 4-month patrol mission of the Pitcairn Island Marine Sanctuary for the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Wave Glider 2802 nautical miles journey (Google Maps)

Wave Glider 2802 nautical miles journey (Google Maps)

This achievement represents a fundamental enabling capability for unmanned systems as it proves the feasibility and flexibility of autonomous mission deployment. Using the Wave Glider platform, Liquid Robotics’ customers are able to deploy sensors in the most remote marine locations without sending a large ship for recovery. This opens up large expanses of the ocean that once were previously inaccessible due to the high cost and risk of deploying manned vessels for research, commerce, or defense.

The Wave Glider began its mission on November 27, 2015 in the South Pacific, where it helped the UK FCO protect the Pitcairn Island Marine Sanctuary against illegal fishing activities. After successfully completing its mission, the Wave Glider was remotely piloted more than 2,808 nautical miles (5200 km) — through strong equatorial currents, doldrums, and challenging sea states — back to port in Hawaii. Along the way, it collected 9,516 measurements of meteorological, oceanographic, and marine biodiversity data over expanses rarely traveled.

This data was recently used to support the worldwide Fishackathon, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State to promote innovative ways to stop illegal and unregulated fishing. Altogether, the Wave Glider was continuously at sea, untouched, for 213 days while traveling a total of 7,205 nautical miles (13,344 km).

Wave Glider's solo journey home from the South Pacific, courtesy of Liquid Robotics

Wave Glider’s solo journey home from the South Pacific, courtesy of Liquid Robotics

“The Wave Glider’s ability to travel to and from remote mission areas is a real game changer for our customers,” said Roger Hine, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer. “This enables them to collect real-time data from previously inaccessible waters without the expense of manned deployment or recovery missions. This is an incredibly powerful tool for helping our customers capitalize new opportunities at sea.”

To learn more about the Pitcairn Island Marine Sanctuary Surveillance mission and the Wave Glider’s journey home, visit: http://www.liquid-robotics.com/Pitcairn-swim-home.

Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for Remote Sensing and Resource Management

The College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is accepting registration for a workshop entitled Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for Remote Sensing and Resource Management. Classes will be held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, July 11, 12 and 13, from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at UH Hilo’s Edith Kanaka’ole Hall, Room 274. Tuition is $750 and includes all training materials.

Aerial Photography

Aerial Photography

The course will be taught by Dr. Ryan Perroy, assistant professor, geography and principal investigator, Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization Lab in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at UH Hilo. Participants will gain the essential knowledge and organization required to safely and legally integrate UAS operations into their daily work activities through live demonstrations, hands-on UAS simulations, and computer processing techniques working with UAS-derived data.

Topics will include mission planning and execution, choosing the right fixed wing or copter platform, applying for a FAA Certificate of Authorization application (COA), creating high resolution orthorectified imagery, using Structure from Motion technology to create 3D digital surface models, and change detection applications.

Due to federal export laws, enrollment is limited to U.S. citizens only. A USB is recommended. For more information and to register, contact CCECS at 932-7830 or email ccecs@hawaii.edu.

RIMPAC Begins… May Affect Garage Door Openers

Dozens of ships from 26 nations are arriving in Pearl Harbor this week for the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. RIMPAC 2016 will be held in and around the Hawaiian islands and off the coast of Southern Calif. June 30-Aug. 4.

RIMPAC brings international participants together to foster and sustain cooperative relationships.  Training during RIMPAC builds credible, ready maritime forces that help to preserve peace and prevent conflict.

RIMPAC is hosted by U.S. Pacific Fleet, headquartered here, and led by U.S. 3rd Fleet. The exercise will be based at Navy Region Hawaii, which includes Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, and the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai. Training will also be held at Marine Corps Base Hawaii and several other locations in the state.

Hawaii’s operating areas and ranges offer realistic, relevant training opportunities like nowhere else in the world and environmental stewardship and protection of marine mammals are always top priorities during RIMPAC.  During the in port portion of the exercise, crews receive training on sighting marine mammals and required protective measures. Participants follow established and approved procedures to minimize the potential impact on marine life.

Some Temporary Noise and Crowds

With 25,000 participants coming to Hawaii, noise, crowds and traffic will increase in the last week of June and through the end of July. Some residents in Hawaii can expect aircraft noise temporarily in certain areas, including the early evening.

According to the Hawaii State Department of Business and Economic Development and Tourism Research and Economic Analysis Division, RIMPAC 2016 is initially anticipated to bring $52.5 million to Hawaii, based on the number of exercise participants and their time in port.

By the end of RIMPAC, the overall economic benefit is expected to be tens of millions of dollars higher than $52.5 million after purchases of supplies, fuel and food or the spending by family and friends of participating personnel are calculated.

Raising Discussion of Garage Door Openers

During RIMPAC some remotely operated garage door openers may be temporarily affected. This can occur if the device is a type (FCC-regulated but unlicensed Part 15) that operates on frequencies reserved for federal government systems.
Garage Door
Remotely controlled garage door openers legally operate at a very low power on an unlicensed basis. Therefore, they can be affected by electromagnetic activity that is generated by navy ships, civilian boaters or other sources.

Such devices may not work properly from time to time, especially if they are not pointed directly at the door.  If that happens, drivers may have to remove the opener from their sun visor and point it directly at the door.  If the opener still doesn’t work right, garage door owners may have to open and close their doors manually or consider other options for a short time.

The Navy is required to test commercial surface search radars in port prior to getting underway and as part of scheduled maintenance.  Surface search radars are available commercially, used by civilian boaters and not a safety issue.  Exercising safety is a top priority for the Navy.

To be sure their garage door opener will function properly, owners may want to check with their garage door company.  At least one company in Hawaii asks their customers to be patient in dealing with the inconvenience, “for a short bit of time, [but] for a lifetime of safety and freedom.”

To learn more about RIMPAC, please visit http://www.cpf.navy.mil/rimpac/2014/
For concerns, noise complaints or general questions about RIMPAC, please call the Combined Information Bureau at (808) 472- 0235. Media interested in covering RIMPAC can call 808-472-0239.