General Studies IIIScience and Tech

Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS)

Why in News?

INCOIS is planning to take the help of the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) for aerial mapping of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep to get a better picture of the ocean floor, also called ‘bathymetric’ study.


  • ESSO-INCOIS was established in 1999
  • It is an autonomous body
  • Established under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and is a unit of the Earth System Science Organization (ESSO).
  • ESSO- INCOIS is mandated to provide the best possible ocean information and advisory services to society, industry, government agencies and the scientific community through sustained ocean observations and constant improvements through systematic and focused research.


  • During the 1990s, the Ministry of Earth Sciences, formerly Department of Ocean Development (DOD), had initiated a project titled “PFZ Mission” and it was handed over to National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Hyderabad, AP.
  • The project slowly blossomed into a full-fledged one, Due to the sincere work done by Dr. A. Narendra Nath. As a result of this, the project was separated from NRSC and a new organization was instituted to look after it.
  • The new organization so formed was named as an Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) and was placed under reputed scientist Dr A.Narendra Nath, Who was also the founder director for INCOIS.
  • Since its Inception in February 1998. Dr. Narendra Nath is the person who initiated the PFZ Mission..
  • The newly formed entity had potential fishing zone (PFZ) advisories as its major project. Apart from PFZ services, the other services such as Indian Early Tsunami Warning, Ocean State Forecast, Ocean Modeling, Data and Web Services Management were also initiated and their products are being delivered to various stakeholders in the country on a daily basis.
  • In recognition of these services, INCOIS was identified as one of the key International Oceanic Organizations. INCOIS renders its services through its web portal and various other devices that are installed at different places in the country

Services Provided by INCOIS

  • Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ)

This is the first advisory service started by INCOIS. The backbone of this service is the real-time data for ocean color and SST provided by the OCEANSAT and NOAA respectively. This service was started because there was a need to identify the potential fishing zones to help the fishermen to get better catch while they were at the sea. This service was started by the Ministry of Earth Sciences with the help of the Department of Space and several institutions under the Ministry of Agriculture. These organizations are collaborating with the State Governments of the beneficiary states to offer these services to the end users.

  • Tsunami Early Warning System (TEWS)

In the aftermath of Sumatra earthquake in 2004 and the killer tsunami it set off, the Government of India wanted to set up an early warning centre for tsunami and other storm surges in the Indian Ocean region. Accordingly, on 15 October 2007, a centre housing the Indian Tsunami Early Warning System (TEWS) was established in INCOIS by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the nodal ministry, with the collaboration of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Space (DOS), and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). At the time of its establishment, the centre had the mandate to provide important tsunami advisories to the people living in the coastal areas of the country. For this purpose, the center was equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure and well trained manpower. By 2012, the centre has started to give a round-the-clock alert and advisory services to all Indian Ocean Rim Countries (IOR).

  • Ocean State Forecast (OSF)

Being a peninsula, India is covered from three sides with water body. Hence there is a need for knowing the state of ocean in advance for carrying out various commercial activities. Prior information about the state of the ocean helps us to plan and execute our activities in the marine environment safely. Moreover, the ocean has an effect on the local climate as well. Thinking about all these factors, a new service was rolled out to forecast the ocean state, which is capable of predicting the surface and sub-surface features of the Indian Ocean in advance. It is called the Indian Ocean Forecasting System (INDOFOS). The forecast is also passed to the stakeholders through Village Information Centers, All India Radio, FM Radio, Digital Display Boards, NGO Websites, and TV channels in the regional languages.

  • Ocean Observation Group (OOG)

The main activity of this group in INCOIS is to measure and monitor the surface temperature and salinity of the upper 2000 meters of the ocean. For this purpose, there is a global array of 3000 free-drifting, profiling floats that relay the measurement data to agencies, which in turn make available these data publicly within hours of reception. This will help them to continuously monitor the climate state of the ocean. This system was named as Argo, which emphasizes the strong complementary relationship between the free-drifting floats and Jason altimeter mission.

International Involvement:

ESSO-INCOIS has a prominent international presence, being a permanent member of the Indian delegation to IOC of UNESCO and a founding member of the Indian Ocean Global Ocean Observing System (IOGOOS) and the Partnership for Observing the Oceans (POGO) which is actively engaged in capacity building and international exchange of students and researchers. ESSO-INCOIS houses the IOGOOS secretariat and the Sustained Indian Ocean Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (SIBER) International Programme Office. Through the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES), ESSO-INCOIS provides ocean information and forecasts to member countries. ESSO-INCOIS is also a member of the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE) OceanView Science Team (GOVST) and Patron’s Group.

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