The Instrument Development Group (IDG) is a recharge facility of the University of California at San Diego. Since establishment in 1972, IDG continues to play a major role in developing a number of instruments for oceanographic use.
The Vector Measuring Current Meter (VMCM) was developed and transitioned to commercial manufacture by IDG. IDG collaborated with Amatek-Straza in developing the first commercially available shipboard Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) and with RD Instruments to develop the first self-contained ADCP for use on moorings; both these were immediately commercialized.
The CODE drifter has been used in large numbers for coastal observations. The Autonomous Lagrangian Circulation Explorer (ALACE) was developed in collaboration with Webb Research Corp. that now provides a modernized float commercially.
IDG also developed the Profiling ALACE and transitioned that development to a commercial product sold by Webb Research. IDG developed a second-generation autonomous profiling float, the Sounding Oceanographic Lagrangian Observer (SOLO), a major contributor to the U.S. component of Argo and which is also manufactured at Woods Hole and in Germany.
The Instrument Development Group (IDG) develops autonomous instrument platforms and sensors for them, builds instrumented vehicles for University of California projects (including collaborations outside UC), and operates floats and gliders for such projects. IDG's primary projects are now developing the SOLO float and Spray glider as instrument platforms. In addition to constructing floats for the Argo program, IDG is adapting the SOLO platform for specialized projects, and developing an entirely new 6000-m Deep SOLO to extend Argo coverage. IDG is also adding instruments to the Spray glider, improving its basic operation, and studying how a new glider design might expand long-term ocean observations. Mark Ohman, for example, is having a high-resolution camera added to Spray to observe zooplanton continuously over weeks.
Currently, IDG primarily supports global and regional time series using small autonomous instrument platforms, floats and gliders, and sensors that can be used from them. IDG provides the improved SOLO II profiling floats to Dean Roemmich's project in Argo. A sustained regional time series, primarily of physical variability but including indicators of low trophic levels, has been maintained in the California Current under direction of Dan Rudnick. The focus is on how ecosystem indicators and physical measurements track coupled physical-biological interannual variability. Sustained measurements across the Solomon Sea track volume and heat transport through the tropical western boundary current that feeds the western-Pacific warm pool and the Equatorial Undercurrent.
Additionally, exploration and process experiments are supported by IDG, which provides instrumentation, equipment preparation, testing, and operational abilities. One example is Jim Moum's Chi-Pod integrated to a SOLO2 for process studies in Sep2015 in the Bay of Bengal.