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GliderTools: A Python Toolbox for Processing Underwater Glider Data

Journal article
Authors L. Gregor
T. J. Ryan-Keogh
S. A. Nicholson
M. du Plessis
Isabelle Giddy
Sebastiaan Swart
Published in Frontiers in Marine Science
Volume 6
Pages 13
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of marine sciences
Pages 13
Language en
Keywords python, software, glider, fluorescence, backscatter, gridding, interpolation, phytoplankton chlorophyll, fluorescence, ocean, oxygen, Environmental Sciences & Ecology, Marine & Freshwater Biology
Subject categories Marine ecology


Underwater gliders have become widely used in the last decade. This has led to a proliferation of data and the concomitant development of tools to process the data. These tools are focused primarily on converting the data from its raw form to more accessible formats and often rely on proprietary programing languages. This has left a gap in the processing of glider data for academics, who often need to perform secondary quality control (QC), calibrate, correct, interpolate and visualize data. Here, we present GliderTools, an open-source Python package that addresses these needs of the glider user community. The tool is designed to change the focus from the processing to the data. GliderTools does not aim to replace existing software that converts raw data and performs automatic first-order QC. In this paper, we present a set of tools, that includes secondary cleaning and calibration, calibration procedures for bottle samples, fluorescence quenching correction, photosynthetically available radiation (PAR) corrections and data interpolation in the vertical and horizontal dimensions. Many of these processes have been described in several other studies, but do not exist in a collated package designed for underwater glider data. Importantly, we provide potential users with guidelines on how these tools are used so that they can be easily and rapidly accessible to a wide range of users that span the student to the experienced researcher. We recognize that this package may not be all-encompassing for every user and we thus welcome community contributions and promote GliderTools as a community-driven project for scientists.

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