Campus & Community

Magello Makes Waves at 2011 U. S. Coast Guard Innovation Expo

The new maritime security technology called Magello -- which was developed during the intensive eight-week 2011 Summer Research Institute (SRI) run by the Center for Secure and Resilient Maritime Commerce (CSR) led by Stevens -- is receiving significant buzz and recognition by representatives from the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Coast Guard for its user-friendly interface and the environmental monitoring capabilities it offers to first responders and decision-makers in the event of emergency and crisis situations. Magello pulls together disparate data sources into one easy-to use-web interface to provide critical, real-time environmental data needed to make informed emergency management decisions.

Christopher Francis, a Stevens Maritime Systems Master’s Degree Fellowship student, saw the potential impact of Magello first-hand when he demonstrated its capabilities and functionality at the United State Coast Guard Innovation Expo, held Oct. 25-27 in Tampa, Fla.

"I spent the first two days describing and demonstrating Magello to expo visitors as well as other exhibitors and almost all were very impressed,” said Francis, a team leader during the SRI program. “Many said they hadn’t seen anything quite like it before.”

Led by faculty mentors Dr. Julie Pullen, Director of CSR, and Dr. Philip Orton, Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Environmental and Ocean Engineering, Magello was created by a team of undergraduate and graduate students from Stevens, Rutgers, University of Miami, University of Puerto Rico and SUNY Binghamton. The students were tasked with the challenge to provide consequence assessment and situational awareness in the event of a radiological dispersion in the Hudson River Estuary. After analyzing existing plume and oceanic modeling forecast tools, they found there were multiple modeling and data sources available but no one central repository that combined them all.

To address this issue, the students focused their efforts on developing a tool that would provide the U.S. Coast Guard and other relevant emergency management personnel with a one-stop shop vehicle that would provide the capability to graphically overlay multiple environmental and oceanic data sources onto one Google Earth map interface. This unique website combines ultra-high resolution environmental data from various sources with plume and spill modeling tools that are capable of predicting the movement of water and airborne contaminants. 

Francis attended the U.S. Coast Guard Innovation Expo as a guest of the Coast Guard Auxiliary University Programs Detachment, the uniformed, non-military volunteer reserve force of the Coast Guard. Magello was exhibited alongside the innovations of student researchers at other affiliate schools, including Auburn, William and Mary and Virginia Tech. Stevens will also soon be a member of the Auxiliary University Programs Detachment, which sets out to encourage university-based, student-led auxiliary units that are well trained and capable of assisting the U.S. Coast Guard with operational and mission support functions.

During the three-day conference, Francis and Dr. Hady Salloum, Director of Maritime Security Initiatives at Stevens, had the opportunity to meet and discuss Magello with a broad range of U.S. Coast Guard personnel, including Admiral Robert Papp, Commandant of the USCG.

“Overall it was a fantastic educational experience for me, great publicity for Magello, Stevens and CSR, and an extremely effective way to let the U.S. Coast Guard know Stevens is out there and hard at work in the field of maritime security technology,” Francis said.