Wednesday, April 15, 2015

US Hydro 2015 Student Outreach Program

The following is a reflection post by Ken Haulsee who was a student outreach program participant at the U.S. Hydro 2015 conference from the University of Delaware.

            On March 15-19th I had the opportunity to attend “U.S. Hydro 2015”, a multi-disciplinary hydrographic conference. I was one of 24 fortunate students who were selected to take part in the conference as a part of the student outreach program. The students were from all over the country and their interests varied from archaeology to electrical engineering. The student’s experience with hydrographic surveying varied as well. The surveying and robotic experience I gained as an intern of the CSHEL lab really prepared me for many talks and workshops I was able to attend during the conference. However, for some students, this conference was their first experience with hydrographic surveying. Regardless of the student’s previous experiences in this field, the outreach program at the conference provided many opportunities that transformed the student group from generally inquisitive students, to students with a personal drive to pursue a career in the field of hydrographic mapping.

One of the first major turning points for the group was during our trip out on the NOAA survey vessel Bay Hydro II. While the introductory presentations that were presented by former Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping students on day one were informative, the information really clicked for the many students when they got to see a survey in action. For myself, it was a great opportunity to see how a full-time survey vessel is outfitted and to see the multi-beam and side-scan sonar images waterfall simultaneously across multiple computer screens. At the University of Delaware, we are fortunate to have a fleet of research vessels that are multi-platform and multidisciplinary such as the R/V Joanne Daiber, but because it is used for a wide variety of scientific endeavors, we do not have the luxury of a permanent surveying set-up, so it was interesting to see how the process could be streamlined. It was a unique opportunity that I believe inspired a lot of the students in the program.

The student outreach program was an amazing opportunity that put students in direct communication with members at the top of the field. From private industry such as Dave Millar from Fugro Pelagos, to government agencies such as Captain Brian Connon from the United States Navy, students were encouraged to ask candid questions in order to fully understand what it takes to succeed in the field of hydrographic mapping and they were very willing to offer up useful advice, as well as many unique sea stories.

Beyond meeting some of the top leaders in the industry we were also able to sit in on talks that are at the cutting edge of the field. Students were given the introductory lesson on hydrographic mapping, but it was also great to see what was currently being done and where the field was going in the future. There was even a talk by Karen Hart from Caris about increasing collaboration between the fields of oceanography and hydrographic mapping. This was particularly poignant to me because the Robotic Discoveries Lab utilizes the same data acquisition techniques, but instead of making nautical charts, the lab uses the data collected to investigate our oceans. So, it was great to see another researcher compare and contrast the two fields and hopefully it will increase the collaboration between oceanography and hydrographic mapping and thus, lead to better science and nautical charts.

In conclusion, the student outreach program was an amazing experience that every student remotely interested in the field should apply to because it is a great opportunity to see all the different facets of the industry. Personally, it strengthened my resolve to learn everything I can about the field and hopefully, pursue a long career in the field of hydrographic mapping." -Ken Haulsee

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Assateague Island National Seashore Project- Graduate Student Blog Danielle Ferraro

June 18-28th:
A small conglomerate of folks from the University of Delaware, Washington College, United States Naval Academy, University of New Hampshire, and EdgeTech are combining forces for a 10-day mapping blitz of Assateague Island National Seashore (AINS). This National State Parks project will utilize sidescan and multibeam sonar to create a variety of bathymetric data products, along with other auxiliary data collected from AUV and ROV operations.
As a new graduate student in the CSHEL lab, part of my tasking is to configure our Real Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS system for use in this project. RTK GPS differs from other GPS systems in that it keeps position uncertainty down to only one or two centimeters, in contrast to errors of several meters as you might find with your iPhone or handheld GPS. RTK GPS relies on a fixed base station to provide corrections in real-time, which then sends those corrections to any number of rover units. A correction-broadcasting network can be used in place of a base station, as long as the survey area has a moderate cell signal.
We are launching two research vessels in operation for this project, the R/V Joanne Daiber (University of Delaware) and R/V Lookdown (Washington College), at the Curtis Merrit Harbor in Chincoteague, Virginia. This is the first field employment of the R/V Daiber since its recent acquisition by the University of Delaware. Its primary use will be for ROV and AUV operations, while the R/V Lookdown will focus its efforts on mapping. Before the R/V Lookdown began mapping, we set up the RTK GPS base station close to their slip at the harbor and took a few data points next to their boat with a rover. The crew aboard the Lookdown cross-referenced the elevations we provided from the GPS with their boat's positioning system, and were able to match it within a few millimeters.

The RTK GPS has several implications for this project and for future endeavors. One of our goals is to eventually configure the RTK GPS with an external radio modem to push its corrections to the AUV, allowing for more precise measurement. In the meantime, we are processing sonar data from the first few days as we wait for the sea state to lay down enough for us to get back out on the boat. Our ultimate project objective is to map the entirety of AINS and compare it to previously collected NOAA data to isolate effects from Hurricane Sandy. This information may be integral in understanding how to better manage coastlines as well as prepare and protect from future storm events.
-Danielle Ferraro

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Deep-Sea Dump: ROVs Expose Trashed Ocean Floor

Deep-Sea Dump: ROVs Expose Trashed Ocean Floor
Wired News

Instead of washing ashore, much of what we throw in the ocean stays there, slowly sinking to the bottom. Now, scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute have compiled a report of deep-sea debris items, extending to depths of almost 12,000 feet.

Original Article:

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

“Sailing Alone Around the World” in Google Earth

Yammer schooner!!

"Sailing Alone Around the World" in Google Earth
Google Earth Blog

Colin Hazelhurst, who has built impressive tours such as Captain James Cook's exploration of Australia, is back with an amazing collection of tours that show the voyage of Captain Joshua Slocum in his book "Sailing Alone Around the World".


Captain Joshua Slocum is credited with making the first single-handed voyage around the world, departing from Boston in April, 1895 and arriving in Newport in June, 1898 after a journey of some forty-six thousand miles The animations presented on Colin's site are organized by the chapters of Slocum's book and within that into the significant passages that made up his voyage.

In addition to the impressive collection of narrated Google Earth tours that you can find on his website, Colin is also converting all of them into YouTube videos for easy viewing.  As an example, here is Chapter III Part 3: "At Fayal in the Azores":

For more about this great collection of tours, you can follow Colin on Google+ or visit to see all of the tours.

Great work Colin!

The post "Sailing Alone Around the World" in Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Original Article:

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