Already around 1880 the Captain G.B. Magnaghi had devised a current flowmeter for measuring the speed and direction of ocean currents at any depth.
Around 1920, the mechanical worker Giovanni Boccardo brought changes to Magnaghi's current meters.
Giovanni Boccardo, of Francesco and Maria Luisa Bacigalupo, was born in Genoa, June 16, 1858. In 1879 he enlisted in the Navy and served on several naval vessels until 1882. In October of that year passed to civil roles in the Hydrographic Office as a mechanical worker, and in 1884 attended the hydrographic campaign of the "Washington ". In December of the same year he graduated as "marine engineer".
In 1902 he worked on behalf of the Hydrographic Office, staging at the Cartographic Exhibition in Antwerp in April.
In 1903 he was appointed Knight of the Crown of Italy. In 1913 he was praised by the Navy Department for services rendered in the work of installation of the Signalling Service in the port of Venice.
In 1915 he was commended by the Navy Department for innovations made to the naval compass , and was earned a cash prize.
In 1919 he received a further commendation and a cash prize for proven expertise in the construction of the operating indicator. Subsequently he was awarded a silver medal "for having contributed to the development of marine sciences", with the design and construction of various nautical instruments, including the current meter that bears his name.
In 1920 he was made Knight of St. Maurice and Lazarus.
Current meters equipped with a digital memory for computer data acquisition: a rotor measures the speed of ocean current, whose direction is detected with a flap and a compass located inside the instrument, together with sensors to measure pressure and temperature.