Doing Fieldwork on the Seafloor: Photogrammetric Techniques to Yield 3D Visual Models from ROV Video

Computers & GeosciencesComputers & Geosciences, published online 22 October 2012

Tom Kwasnitschka, Thor H. Hansteen, Colin W. Devey, and Steffen Kutterolf


  • A new technology for deep-sea micro scale mapping is demonstrated.
  • Photogrammetry based on ROV video yields 3D models.
  • Quantitative data extraction yields geoscientific insights.
  • The workflow is readily replicable and based on industrial software.

“Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) have proven to be highly effective in recovering well localized samples and observations from the seafloor. In the course of ROV deployments, however, huge amounts of video and photographic data are gathered which present tremendous potential for data mining. We present a new workflow based on industrial software to derive fundamental field geology information such as quantitative stratigraphy and tectonic structures from ROV-based photo and video material.

Warping effects due to missing lens distortion parameters (a) superimposed on the correct reconstruction (b).

Warping effects due to missing lens distortion parameters (a) superimposed on the correct reconstruction (b). Both models have been aligned at the first camera pose (c), where deviations in the model geometry and position are already apparent. The largest dislocation (gray arrow) in position and camera angle is found between the last images, (d) showing the warped path and (e) the correct path, deviating 29° in pitch, 8° in roll and 1.8° in heading. Crosses mark the location of a corresponding feature referenced in the text. Measurements of a corresponding bedding plane (white planes) indicate a strong deviation in strike (67°, lines) and dip (12°, arrows). The light transparent model (f) and camera planes (g) illustrate the model, which has been aligned to the track coordinates, resulting in positioning and also scaling errors. The white grid represents the true horizontal plane.

“We demonstrate proof of principle tests for this workflow on video data collected during dives with the ROV Kiel6000 on a new hot spot volcanic field that was recently identified southwest of the island of Santo Antão in the Cape Verdes. Our workflow allows us to derive three-dimensional models of outcrops facilitating quantitative measurements of joint orientation, bedding structure, grain size comparison and photo mosaicking within a georeferenced framework. The compiled data facilitate volcanological and tectonic interpretations from hand specimen to outcrop scales based on the quantified optical data. The demonstrated procedure is readily replicable and opens up possibilities for post-cruise “virtual fieldwork” on the seafloor.”

Out-of-School Suspensions by Home Neighborhood: A Spatial Analysis of Student Suspensions in the San Bernardino City Unified School District

Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the USC Graduate School, December 2012

Stephen O. Gervais

“Student out-of-school suspensions have been an ongoing problem in US schools for many years. Current methods of analysis have not yielded new insights into this problem. The purpose of this thesis is to consider student suspension incidents from a spatial perspective. Using student level data provided by SBCUSD, a large urban school district in southern California, suspension incidents were geocoded and mapped to student home neighborhoods within the district for the purpose of identifying whether or not suspensions incidents are clustered and, if so, to determine by neighborhood where the clusters are located.

2009-10 predicted suspension incidents, GWR Model

2009-10 predicted suspension incidents, GWR Model

“Spatial analysis indicated that suspension incident clustering does exist. Hotspot analysis showed variations in the suspension incident clustering pattern when disaggregating results by significant student subgroups and incident types. Neighborhoods were classified by these patterns and the results visualized in a choropleth map. As a final step in the analysis, a geographically weighted regression model predicting districtwide suspension incidents by census block group was developed. The model, based on the total number of days previously suspended and the number of students identified as having a low socioeconomic status, had an adjusted R2 greater than 0.90. Additional research needs to be conducted to verify that the patterns noted within this thesis hold steady. If so, discipline issues within SBCUSD may in part be influenced by local neighborhood factors. This becomes an opportunity for the school district to act at a local level and identify strategies to reduce suspensions and improve student outcomes.”

A Novel Satellite Mission Concept for Upper Air Water Vapour, Aerosol and Cloud Observations Using Integrated Path Differential Absorption LiDAR Limb Sounding

Remote Sensing, 2012, 4(4), published online 27 March 2012

Alex Hoffmann , Debbie Clifford , Josep Aulinas , James G. Carton , Florian Deconinck , Berivan Esen , Jakob Hüsing , Katharina Kern , Stephan Kox , David Krejci , Thomas Krings , Steffen Lohrey , Patrick Romano , Ricardo Topham, and Claudia Weitnauer

“We propose a new satellite mission to deliver high quality measurements of upper air water vapour. The concept centres around a LiDAR in limb sounding by occultation geometry, designed to operate as a very long path system for differential absorption measurements. We present a preliminary performance analysis with a system sized to send 75 mJ pulses at 25 Hz at four wavelengths close to 935 nm, to up to 5 microsatellites in a counter-rotating orbit, carrying retroreflectors characterized by a reflected beam divergence of roughly twice the emitted laser beam divergence of 15 µrad. This provides water vapour profiles with a vertical sampling of 110 m; preliminary calculations suggest that the system could detect concentrations of less than 5 ppm. A secondary payload of a fairly conventional medium resolution multispectral radiometer allows wide-swath cloud and aerosol imaging. The total weight and power of the system are estimated at 3 tons and 2,700 W respectively.

“This novel concept presents significant challenges, including the performance of the lasers in space, the tracking between the main spacecraft and the retroreflectors, the refractive effects of turbulence, and the design of the telescopes to achieve a high signal-to-noise ratio for the high precision measurements. The mission concept was conceived at the Alpbach Summer School 2010.”