The Global Buoy Network

Relationships to other networks

The DBCP network is just one of the observing networks which make up the Global Ocean Observing System. The maintenance and expansion of the DBCP network is done within the context of the other networks and requirements for the integrated system. see GOOS Network Status ».

How many buoys are needed?

See more information »

Network Status

Monthly Maps:

DBCP monthly map products are available to visualise the buoy network as:
  -  PNG images
  -  High resolution PDF files (with layers to toggle data on and off)

 Interactive Viewers to zoom in/out and query data:
  -  Google Earth files (kml)
  -  Web Map viewer

OceanOPS » provides similar map products for all of the observing networks it maintains.

Network Status Lists:

Graphs and Charts:

View graph of numbers of Buoys by Country

Maintaining and expanding the network.

What next?

Whilst the DBCP network of over 1250 drifting buoys and 400 moored buoys was completed in 2005, there are still ongoing challenges in sustaining and improving the network. These are detailed in the
DBCP implementation strategy.

Examples of ongoing challenges are:


The measurement of Air Pressure is important for the weather forecasting, so the DBCP aims to have air pressure measurements, using a Barometer Port, on as many buoys as possible. focusing on high latitudes and remote ocean areas. An upgrade scheme was introduced to encourage the addition of barometers on drifters.

Deployment opportunities and even dispersion

The buoy network is, in reality, not evenly dispersed across the whole ocean, due to difficulties in deploying buoys in very remote areas (especially the southern ocean) and because the buoys, following currents, drift out of some areas quickly or converge in other areas. This is a major challenge for the DBCP. See more information about Deployment opportunities.

New sensors

The DBCP has an ongoing program of developing and testing new sensors and uses for drifting buoys. More detail is available on the Data Uses page.

 Chart of Buoy numbers over time

   GTS data as received by Meteo France. View Network growth data (.CSV)