Marine Navigation - Examples
Here are several examples of how our navigation programs are paying off for our clients. WorkBoat and SeaScape are in use all over the world. The ANP package? Well, we don't talk about that one much !

From mooring calibrations (with acoustic releases) to shallow and deep ROV navigation with the LBL, USBL and DVL nuts-and-bolts our clients need for their daily operations, here's what these programs are all about.

WorkBoat and NOAA-PMEL-TAO Buoy Anchors (Etc.!)
NOAA deploys climate buoys in many oceans for measuring properties of both the ocean and the atmosphere. Certain of these buoys, known as ATLAS buoys which comprise the majority of the TAO-TRITON mooring array (you know, El Nino / La Nina detectors), have special temperature, pressure and conductivity modules along their mooring lines for the purpose of measuring the profile of the top 500 meters of ocean. The buoys systems are typically visited twice a year, recovered and deployed annually.

The NOAA ship Ka'Imimoana and TAO-TRITON mooring with technicians.

Some ATLAS moorings are deployed as a "slack mooring" meaning that there is considerable slack in its mooring line held in place by an anchor. An acoustic release is attached above the anchor but before the line to the surface buoy. The whole mooring package (minus anchor) can be removed at any time. It is critical when they deploy a system that NOAA "calibrate" the anchor's position. This is a significant feature of WorkBoat.

WorkBoat provides "mooring calibration" (positioning) technology.

Using an acoustic transceiver known as a "deckset," and connected to a laptop running Workboat, NOAA can direct the ship to move around the approximate anchor position and acoustically range on it. Using accurate GPS fixes for the ship and knowledge of the ship's heading, NOAA can precisely fix its absolute, geodetic position usually by better than 10 meters in very deep water (like 4000+ meters!). With the accurate positioning of the anchor, NOAA can return to the site later and replace the instrumentation by pulling the mooring line aboard their ship to a depth of 500 meters.

Technicians service a TAO-TRITON (ATLAS) buoy.

The only safe way to do this is to make sure that the ship is positioned vertically above the anchor's location to minimize the working load of the mooring line.

TAO-TRITON buoy electronics tubes.

Another type of mooring used in the array where Workboat's positioning features are especially critical is with subsurface moorings. These moorings are deployed with the mooring floatation below the ocean surface. Similar to slack line moorings, the subsurface moorings have an acoustic release above their anchor. Obviously, without a visible surface buoy the positioning of the mooring's anchor is critical. If the anchor's position cannot be accurately rendered, positioning the ship for recovery operations the following year is difficult. Workboat is the tool used by NOAA to accurately fix the anchor's position.

Similarly, NOAA uses WorkBoat to position Tsunami buoy anchors in the same way and various underwater instrument packages and hydrophone arrays.

Mention of NOAA and NOAA-PMEL on this web page does not constitute an endorsement of any product. (Photo's courtesy NOAA-PMEL.)

WorkBoat and ROV Navigation: Triton Logging
Here's an activity like no other yet on Earth: harvesting preserved trees from the BOTTOM of lakes behind dams using a specially-designed, tree-grappling, chainsaw-wielding, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) called "Sawfish," designed, built and operated by Triton Logging of British Columbia, Canada.

Triton Logging SAWFISH Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)

Combined with Trackpoint II USBL hardware from ORE, WorkBoat navigates the Sawfish from a special barge as the ROV pilot grapples a tree, attaches and inflates a special airbag, and finally cuts the tree off to lift it to the surface. The Result: the vehicle is successfully navigated through an underwater forest to recover thousands of trees. Each tree cut is precisely positioned and documented with the information fed directly from Workboat into their database.

Underwater SAWFISH image of trees to be cut.

WorkBoat displays thousands of cut trees.

We understand that these trees are perfectly preserved in the low-oxygen environment of the lake bottom and the wood is used to make wonderful furniture and other products. And we hear that there are millions of trees that need cutting! And hopefully, lot's of navigation to go with it to do a proper job.

Thousands and thousands of trees behind dams.

Lumber milled from trees cut by SAWFISH.

We're very proud to be a part of Triton Logging's effort to harvest trees that would otherwise go to waste, in an environmentally safe way. Wow. Talk about incredible technology.

Tritons advanced 4-screen ROV console.

(Photo's from Triton Logging by permission.)

SeaScape and Deep Ocean Navigation: ROPOS & CSSF

Navigation: "Where are we? Where are we going? And what is THAT??" Well, getting two-out-of-three isn't bad considering the difficulty of the latter (and for the scientists, mainly)!! SeaScape performs acoustic "Long BaseLine" (LBL) navigation in deep water for ROPOS (keep reading!)

ROPOS - Remotely Operated Platform for Ocean Science.

and acoustic "UltraShort BaseLine" (USBL) navigation in shallower domains (not to mention both simultaneously). And it combines "Doppler Velocity Log" (DVL) bottom tracking and all the surface navigation features needed to direct ship movements to achieve dive objectives.

ROPOS being launched for shallow op's.

OK, there's way more to it than that, but you get the picture(s)!!

We've been supporting the Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility (CSSF) almost as long as we've been in the ocean business - and darn proud of it. Every year or two, we get invited out on one of their scientific adventures as navigator. It gives us the chance to implement and test new software features on demand while at sea (ALWAYS very productive!!).

ROPOS is a deep-ocean science platform.

For the ROPOS (Remote Ocean Platform for Ocean Science) ROV, SeaScape is used as the main navigation station in their control lab with WorkBoat running in their ROV console and on the bridge of the ship. These days, we use Ethernet to link SeaScape and WorkBoat's together so everyone sees the same picture of what's going on. This allows the entire team to better coordinate ALL of the logistical activities for ROPOS dives. Data is also fed by Ethernet to their highly capable scientific data logger which combines position and sensor information with digital still frame images with narrative scientific information, etc.

NW Rota submarine volcano during an erruption.

Our hats are off to ROPOS and CSSF for being our longest-sailing client on the high seas. And to being a wonderful bunch of talented people to work with.

ROPOS launching from the MV Thompson.

(Photo's courtesy of CSSF and others.)

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