The PAMGUARD Approach

PAMGUARD is currently funded by the OGP E&P Sound and Marine Life Joint Industry Program , and has been established to address the fundamental limitations of existing cetacean passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) software capabilities. PAMGUARD seeks to provide open-source PAM software based on a platform-independent (e.g. Windows or Linux), flexible, modular architecture. The open-source aspect of software development is facilitated through the project's presence on SourceForge, where a community of altruistic developers provides extra resources. This community currently includes developers with proven PAM experience from both the UK and the USA. Open development means that the software is free and access to the code is easy and assured. It also allows the code's copyright to be protected in perpetuity so that it cannot readily be closed and commercialised to the detriment of its users. It ultimately means that more people have access for development. This generally speeds up innovations and improves the performance and maintainability of the code.

It is anticipated that the PAM community will support this initiative and donate their intellect and facilities to assist PAMGUARD in achieving its goal. Involvement in the PAMGUARD community allows researchers and industry to develop and contribute to a technology which will provide an important tool for the understanding and benefit of the marine environment.

The History of PAMGUARD

The PAMGUARD 1 and 2 project phases (Jan 2004 - Dec 2005), were funded by IRFC and undertaken by Heriot-Watt University, Ecologic and SMRU personnel. This work led to the development of a bench-tested, short-aperture 2-element, detection and limited localisation PAM system.

For 2006, OGP E&P Sound and Marine Life Joint Industry Program funded PamGuard 3 and the project team were joined by Oregon State University and Scripps Institution of Oceanography members. This collaboration has enabled PamGuard to incorporate not only the functionalities of both long standing PAM systems, i.e. Rainbow Click/Whistle and Ishmael, but also recently developed capabilities such as Scripps 3D localisation.

Through the plug-in implementation of state-of-the-art PAM algorithms, PAMGUARD will evolve in line with changing user and legislative requirements and expectations.