PAM: PAMGuard Maintenance And Support 2008-13


  • None of the Programme’s Key Questions apply to maintenance of the PAMGuard software system. Support for error correction was not anticipated at the Programme’s inception, but was later found to be critical in maintaining a high functionality and level of user support.


A basic PAMGuard Support Function has been provided since 2009 to correct software problems, help build user confidence, and assist commercial users of PAM to ‘get started’ with PAMGuard. This basic support is critical if PAMGuard software is to become a standard user interface for PAM.

The results of this project are more technical than scientific. They contribute more to the successful and uninterrupted use of the program at sea than to expanding the number of questions the system can address.

Objectives and methods

System maintenance began after the core PAMGuard software was made available and when users began finding small problems with the software. SMRU (Gillespie) provided corrections for these problems, and wrote tutorials that helped new users get started. The number of small problems identified and corrected decreased greatly after the first year of support. The cost of continuing to provide this support is small and could be covered with user fees.


PAMGuard has become standard, robust PAM software that industry can now count on for meeting the regulatory requirement for using PAM during seismic operations. This level of reliability resulted from making the software operate nearly trouble-free and easier for novices to begin using.

Links to other research

See the project summaries for PAMGuard III and IV and for PAM Software Development for PAMGuard.


SMRU UK – Douglas Gillespie


  • Mitigation And Monitoring

    The JIP takes an active role in providing information to understand and reduce risk of potential impacts of exploration and production sound on marine life.

  • Research Categories

    The JIP has funded one of the most extensive industry research programmes in this field. It is divided into five categories which are complementary and designed to allow the JIP to fully understand the issue and potential impacts associated with underwater sound from E&P activities.

  • Innovation

    The Marine & Sound JIP has funded research into technologies and methods that influence the way the industry operates, such PAMGuard, PCAD, Tags, DECAF, BRAHSS and Tags

  • IOGP Sound & Marine – A Quick Guide To PAMGuard

    Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) helps detection by picking up the distinctive vocalisations that some marine species produce. The work of JIP has ensure that PAM Guard has virtually replaced all previous animal detection software.

  • PAM: PAMGuard III And IV Software Development And PAMGuard Industry Field Trial 2008

    Regulatory authorities encourage or stipulate the use of passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) prior to and during start-up. Real-time localisation and tracking of vocalising marine mammals is needed to trigger the array shut-downs required by permits

  • PAM Software Development For PAMGuard

    Software that can detect animals, classify them to species, and locate them in three dimensions (called DCL software) is essential to PAMGuard. The Programme funded three projects to improve PAMGuard’s DCL capabilities.