The Texas Coastal Ocean Observation Network, or TCOON, is a unique network of scientific data collection platforms used to amass critical data pertaining to wind and water -- essential data to anyone who lives or works near the Gulf coast. A confluence of federal, state and local governmental entities in partnership with academia, TCOON is that rare amalgam of tax dollars at work to provide a service that benefits all sectors of society, including commercial interests, recreational wind surfers and anglers, research scientists, and public officials.
TCOON currently consists of 31 active stations along the Texas Gulf Coast, with the primary mission of monitoring water levels. In addition, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, air temperature, and water temperature are also monitored, and some stations provide water current, salinity, pH, and dissolved oxygen data. Data is collected in near real time using a combination of cellular devices, as well as internal satellite transmitters. All the data collected are accessible via TCOON’s website, and via Wind-Info, an automated phone system that provides the general public with wind and water conditions for any station in the network.
Because the TCOON stations are designed to meet the rigid scientific guidelines of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the data collected is admissible in court and is used to establish littoral boundaries (those legal boundaries along the seashore separating privately owned land from state owned, submerged land). Moreover, detailed records provide an audit trail of all of the steps used in the collection and production of data products emanating from the TCOON, assuring the accuracy and reliability of these products. In addition to the critical function of the production of tidal datums, TCOON data are essential to public officials charged with hurricane preparedness, meteorologists providing storm forecasts, and research scientists monitoring the environmentally sensitive bays and estuaries along the Gulf of Mexico in Texas. The data are also accessible to the general public, and are frequently accessed by recreational and commercial users such as wind surfers, sailors, anglers, and surfers.