Context: To avoid communication blackouts that led to 20 fishermen going missing in the aftermath of Cyclone Okchi in 2017, a slew of government departments, research agencies and private companies have developed GEMINI Satellite, a portable receiver linked to ISRO-satellite ‘s, that is “fail-proof” and warn fishermen of danger.
- The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), a Hyderabad institute collaborated with Accord, a private company, to develop GEMINI (GAGAN Enabled Mariner’s Instrument for Navigation and Information) a simple handheld device that receives the information transmitted through GAGAN and feeds that to the mobile handset through Bluetooth connection.
- An App developed by INCOIS converts the satellite messages in the form of readable maps and text.
- The decoded information can be viewed on the mobile in any of the languages spoken in the coastal states of India.
- The Mobile app receives the GPS information (Current Position, Satellite Date & Time) as well as the following broadcasted messages.
- Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) Advisory
- High Wave Alert & Strong Wind Alert
- Cyclone and Tsunami Warning Information
- Maximum Wind Speed, Maximum Wave Height, Maximum Current Speed
- Bathymetry, Distance & Direction
- GEMINI works on GAGAN, developed by ISRO and the Airports Authority of India and is an India-made global positioning system and relies on the positioning system by ISRO’s GSAT satellites.
- With this device, fishermen outside the signal range of their phone companies can also access warnings and alerts.
- Mobile phone frequencies cannot be accessed 10-12 km beyond the coast and with GEMINI this range can increase to 300 nautical miles, according to a press release.
- The device only allows one-way communication — it can’t be used by fishermen to make calls, for instance.
- of India has made provision for such devices under the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMSSY) scheme.
- Under this scheme, support is provided to procure PFZ devises, network and cost of installation as part of “Strengthening of safety and security of fishermen”.