Non-Invasive Archaeology & Coral Reef Preservation in Florida

Latest update January 17, 2015 Started on October 31, 2014
The waters of Florida abound with historic shipwrecks. Ranging in time from the Spanish colonial period through World War II. In the Florida Keys and in the Caribbean several coral species as endangered and should be protected. Because of disease, pollution and warming ocean temperatures, coral coverage in Florida has decreased from about 50 % 30 years ago to 7 % today. This region hosts several million snorkelers, divers, fishermen and boaters every year. With its coral reefs and shipwrecks, Florida is now the number one dive destination in the world. We will use ROV technology to survey and monitor coral species and historic shipwrecks over time. By publishing the results, we will raise awareness and support federal protection for the species and shipwrecks that are the most at risk. We will also use this opportunity to sensibilize and train underwater archaeologists and preservation specialists to the benefits of open source ROV technology.

October 31, 2014
Expedition's summary cannot exceed 240 characters


Did you know that the National Geographic Society is currently offering Explorers a variety of funding opportunities in the fields of conservation, education, research, storytelling, and technology? To learn more and apply for a grant click here.
If you're not interested in applying for a grant, click continue below
Funded by:

Another milestone!
We really encourage everyone who is interested in underwater archaeology to take this course. It was very informative and it also includes a chapter about technology and ROVs.


Interesting! Do you have a link to the course?

I had seen someone else who had attended this class and have been interested. I've signed up to be notified when the next class was while ago but have not heard anything yet. Did I miss a recent class?

I think they will have another session this semester, not sure when.

It's a very interesting course and well worth doing. The next one is late March / early April apparently -

We are running out of Acrylic Cement and we would like to order an alternative to the recommended IP Weld-ON 3 that is recommended by OpenROV:
We are trying to move fast as we will be in the field in a few weeks only and most distributors won't be able to ship this product until the second week of January.

We were wondering if anyone has experience with the SCIGRIP 4 10308 Acrylic solvent cement as it is available with two-days shipping on Amazon:

There is also a "3" version of this product available but I am not sure what the difference is.
*Note: This is for the U.S. market only. The products listed above might not be available in Europe and in the rest of the world.



Sorry to I've only tried the SCIGRIP Weld-On 3. From what I can gather, the difference is only the setting times. I think it would be fine, but it would require more time holding things in place until they're bonded well enough.

Thanks Michael. It makes sense. We just want to make sure that besides the required time for holding things in place, it would be as strong as the recommended products.

Yes, I just sent you a TAPS Plastic Link via FB message. If you need to buy it today, I'd say do it! I'm very confident, but you can never be too safe. I'm going to look into it a bit more, and speak with more experience family member tonight. I'll get back to you tomorrow with what I find.

I just found a plastic company that says,"Weld-On #4 is the same as Weld-On #3 except it is MODERATELY FAST CURING."

Did you ever see this discussion on the OpenROV blog?

It helps, thanks!

As indicated by the logo displayed on this page, our expedition has been recognized and is now supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, established in 2000, seeks to advance environmental conservation, scientific research, and improve the quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit
As part of this collaboration we've received the latest version of OpenROV (2.7). We are very excited about the new features and enhancements, this platform is becoming more and more robust and a perfect tool for scientific exploration like we are trying to demonstrate it. For a few months already, we've been experimenting with OpenROV and we are just amazed by the outcomes. Possibilities are endless and with the help of 3D printing and other technologies we can materialize any concept. OpenROV is now fully part of our work and we are about to launch 4 new projects on OpenExplorer, please stay tuned!
We wish everyone at OpenROV and to all the OpenROV Explorers a merry Christmas and a happy new year!


Happy holidays Benoit! Excited to see the new expeditions!

Wow, congrats on being sponsored by the Moore Foundation! That's a huge achievement! Good luck with the 2.7 build and your next projects. I'm sure we'll do some collaborating here once we get our operations fully in the field.

Thanks for your support Kevin. We are looking forward to working together!

Oh exciting, 4 new projects! It's amazing how exciting it is to hear about expeditions I never in a million years could have imagined. You have my attention, can't wait Benoit!

Congratulation! I look forward to see what kind of projects you have planned for the 2.7 build.

Presenting at the annual Show & Tell session of the prestigious Southern Florida Chapter of the Explorers Club.
OpenROV has generated a lot of interest from our local community of elite explorers and scientists. Great feedback about our upcoming expedition and many new opportunities for collaboration.


Last week, we had the opportunity to step aboard the replica of a late 16th century Spanish ship. It is the only galeon class vessel sailling the seven seas today.
Not only we were able to experience what it was like to explore the world on such merchant vessels and warships that were sailed by the Europeans, but it was an amazing extension to the Maritime Archaeology course we took with the University of Southampton. Over the last couple of months we have learned a lot about the engineering of ships built during this era and this visit has been very helpful in getting a sense of dimensions and structures.
Similar ships are lying on the seabed of the coasts of Florida. This will help us identifying parts of the shiprweck we are planning to survey with OpenROV.


I'm still impressed by this accurate and exact replica of a 16th century Spanish Galeon...they did a great work!

Announcing the birth of the MDAP research group. It will complement our existing activities with aerial platforms (ADAP). A very special thank to Robin Roque for creating this new visual identity.


Pretty sweet logo! I think you guys need t-shirts next.

We already have ou OpenROV tshirts!

I love the new research group and the logo is great too!

Thank you Michael! Step by step we are getting there!

Cutting, wiring, soldering... rince & repeat...
Slowly, we are getting there!


Shipping this week!

Christmas is coming early this year!

This is going to be exciting! Love your posts, looking forward to seeing your box arrive!

Can't wait to see what's new. Hopefully the design won't change too much and we'll be able to use the mounts we've been working on with this new version. We'll probably do a video tutorial as we are now quite familiar with the assembly process, perhaps in several languages.

@David Lang & erikabergman: Thank you so much!

For the last two weeks We have been slammed with work but we are slowly getting closer to our goal and we are now back to our small improvized lab, building our custom mount for our ROV.
However, we were able to take a few more powerboating classes in the Florida Keys. We cannot get tired of the beautiful sunset down here, it is simply amazing.


Great photo. Excited to get this ROV out to you in the next few weeks!

Thanks. Really excited about this upcoming version and looking forward to play with the new features for this project.

Back to school!

We have the tech, we need the knowledge!
In our previous post, we talked about our meeting with world-renowned whale and dolphin researchers and conservationists. Brainstorming with experts in their field, we are just starting to realize what an open source platform such as OpenRov can do for Sciences. In our era, more than ever, researchers can benefit from affordable technology, large communities of tech experts and enthusiasts, armies of citizen scientists, crowdsourcing systems and more... In order to establish this new kind of open collaboration, it is key for citizen scientist to be able to follow guidelines and operate by the book. Educational material and specialists are available worldwide to those who wants to learn. Regarding underwater archaeology, we are taking the same approach. We want to learn from the top experts in shipwreck exploration, we want to make sure we understand the fundamentals, that our work would be 100% non-invasive. By understanding the rules & regulations, the environment and challenges, we can also identify opportunities where ROVs can make a positive impact.

We are now enrolled in a 4-weeks course offered by the Centre of Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southampton, UK. This course covers marine geophysics, archaeology, history, environmental science, advanced computing techniques and more. It is an Open Course so you can also join. The course has started two weeks ago but you can still join and catch up.

To learn more about this course and enroll:

This is so exciting! And I agree with everything you've written. It's very important that we do this right. The flying drone community has run into a number of regulation issues, and we will likely see something similar as more of these devices get out there. Better to self-police!

Writing a guide with best practices for OpenROV users regarding shipwrecks, coral reef, divers... would be a good idea.

I absolutely agree, there needs to be guidelines and access to education materials for the citizen scientists. If the proper ground work is laid out, it will help to build a strong and respected community of OpenROV users that can become a partner of the academic community.

In the northeast I've seen this already happening with the caving community, and diving community.

Oh wow, the tall ship in the Into video, in the lower left hand corner, is the vessel that inspired me into marine engineering when I was a girl! The Lady Washington, beautiful little Brig, with a big ol' Detroit diesel, purred like a kitten! How did the course go? It's looks amazing!

It is a small world, I guess. I didn't know you studied Marine Engineering, this is great and impressive!
The course was great, very informative and with a ton of content and additional lectures. We were able to successfully reach the final milestone. We are waiting for our certificate of completion!

This Saturday in Jupiter, Florida, we had the privilege to meet with two amazing individuals. Dr. Stefan Harzen and world-renowned whale and dolphin researcher and conservationist Barbara J. Brunnick. She started her career in the late 1970s and was among the very first people to study wild killer whales, while Dr. Harzen continued his research for more than 25 years in Portugal and the United States. In addition to being an accomplished scientist, Dr. Harzen is a writer, photographer, musician and explorer.
In 2011, they published An Ocean of Inspiration: The John Olguin Story, a true account of John Olquin's inspiring story as an influential American who rose from poverty to play a critical role in advancing marine science and creating the world's first whale watching program.
They are also the founders of the Taras Foundation, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. Since 1998, this organization is dedicated to advancing marine science and the long-term survival of both people and the oceans. The Taras Foundation’s mission aims ‘’to play a leadership role in preserving the marine environment and implement the principles of sustainability in Florida and the Caribbean through a unique international and multidisciplinary program of collaboration between the science and business communities’’. This is accomplished through a combination of research and outreach programs. The Taras Foundation also operates the Palm Beach Dolphin Project (PBDP) and is a leader in creating highly precise digital maps of coral reefs and other critical habitats… which is the reason why we had this meeting.

As we are trying to customize the OpenROV platform to monitor coral reef in South Florida, we are connecting with experts in coral reef preservation who can provide guidance regarding data collection, measurements and devices we would have to take in consideration in order to make our custom-built efficient and reliable.

We had the opportunity to introduce OpenROV and our project Dr. Stefan Harzen and Dr. Barbara J. Brunnick. They were very interested and we've learned a lot. We are now working on a very exciting partnership with their foundation.

To learn more about the Taras Foundation, please visit
Here is also an overview of one of their groundbreaking works:


Very cool. I'm interested in the digital maps you mention. How precise are they? Do they ID species charts at the kilometer scale? Meter scale? Smaller? I'd love to see an example of one!

Thanks! They are built with ArcGis so you can zoom in/zoom out as needed.

Who needs an ROV when you can get a... submarine/underwater tank!!??
We are meeting with many tech enthusiasts and divers here in the Florida Keys and they are really amazed by what a small robot like OpenROV can do.


That is cool!! Did you get to ride/dive in it?

Whoa, is the that new design for the semi-submersible at Aquaranch on Islamorada?

Hey this is way too cool! You are using impressive stuff to say the least!

David, unfortunately, we couldn't use this incredible machine as it was about to be relocated in the Caribean, but what an incredible design. Who knows, maybe one day, we'll have personal submarines powered by OpenROV.
Erika, nope, I know what you are referring to but their underwater vehicle is different.
Jedi, less impressive than a Tie fighter but still!!

Guess who is building a small marine lab on Saturday night at 3.00am?

Connected work bench;
3D Printer;
Flat screen TV connected with Chromecast;
Water tank (frame pool);
Mobile command center;
Storage for parts...


That's awesome! This is a cool idea: the hackerspace/makerspace for explorers. We have a similar set up. @ericstackpole was talking about a similar idea yesterday. More pictures as this develops please!

It is in my garage for now so I have limited space for this project. We can't compare with OpenROV's new headquarters, but hopefully it will expand and it will be opened to explorers from South Florida. We will start hosting local meetups in a couple of weeks.

Two weeks ago we had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Scott Viguie and briefly introduce our work in non-invasive archeaology.
Dr. Scott Viguie holds two doctorate degrees and is an archaeologist, author, and the creator of Dr. Geek’s Lab, a STEM outreach program which explores the concepts found in science fiction and relates them to cutting edge scientific breakthroughs.
In addition to scripting and acting in the show he also gives lectures on science found in fiction throughout the year. Scott created Dr. Geek’s Lab Science Fair which blends elements of a traditional science fair with a science fiction convention. Scott has written the non-fiction book Archaeology in Fiction exploring the tropes of archaeology in the media and how they compare to real archaeology.
From Jules Verne to the Abyss, underwater exploration have been part of science fiction. OpenROV is a perfect illustration of popular culture meeting innovation.
To learn more about Doctor Geek and Dr. Scott Viguie, visit


Science fiction and archeology...sounds very interesting! I look fwd to learning more from u guys! Best

Hey thank you caroshin! Stay tuned then...a lot of amazing things are coming ;) Cheers! Dorian

While we are still brainstorming about our setup for a Go Pro camera, we are very excited about the upcoming new GoPro lineup featuring 4K video recording at 30fps and 1080p at 120fps!!!

This new lineup will be available on October 4th and good news it comes with a compatible Dive Housing and Magenta/Red Dive Filters.

Perfect timing for us which means that our dive tests will be recorded in 4K. Happy dance!!

More info:

Darn! I wish I had known this earlier I just ordered a few hero 3's, maybe I'll see if I can cancel.

Call their customer service, they might be able to help. I'll call them a few times for different reasons and they have always been extremely helpful.

Sad news! According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the number of threatened Coral Species jumped from 2 to 22. The good news is that these 22 species are now protected un the Endangered Species Act ( A small victory considering that 83 species of coral have been proposed for listing.

This is essentially the result of ocean acidification, rising temperature and pollution. Since the industrial revolution, the oceans have absorbed betwen 1/4 to 1/3 of all carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. A frequent symptom of damage is 'coral bleaching'. An entire reef may turn white as the corals expel the symbiotic algae that live inside them. As they bleach, their immune system gets weaker and they become prone to disease.

The Florida Keys are no exception. Data shows this summer was the warmest on record and this year's bleaching event may be the worst ever in the region.

Five of the recently protected species are located in the Caribbean, around Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico which makes our project even more relevant. ROVs are non-invasive and could be considered for coral reef monitoring. Scientists are currently taking surveys to determine the extent of the bleaching and will be documenting incidence of disease and mortaility when the heat-stress subsides. This will take several months. The use of ROVs could make this task less time-consuming and would not required as many divers. Specific sensors and measurement devices can be added to OpenROV, new data collection processes can be invented, it can be deployed quickly and perhaps it can follow a pre-determined path autonomously... With the help of technology and creativity, each and everyone of us can contribute to save our Oceans. The time is now!


It's really heartbreaking. You're right - hopefully we can use these tools to collect more information.

Final Frontier
OpenROV+Emotiv EPOC. Will it work?


AWESOME. Is it pretty straight forward to setup? You connect to the PC wirelessly and then program your facial movements to correspond to the command keys for "left, right, fore, aft" ?

Kind of. Your facial expressions are recognized through your brain but I don't see myself controlling a robot by moving my eyebrows up and down, lol!! The device also track your state of mind (excitment / calm...). Even better, you can track cognitive signals. This last part "reads" your thoughts. Then you can assign commands behind each thought.
For example, you don't think or "think about nothing" = stop
You think about pushing something = move forward
You need to both calibrate and setup the system but also train your mind/the way you think.
It is a bit exhausting!
For the ROV, I am trying to "focus" on only 7 moves for now: "Surface", "Dive", "Turn Right", "Turn Left", "Move Forward", "Move Nackward" and "Stop"
You get better results with the USB stick especally for calibration because each sensor has to be perfectly positionned.
Finally, the challenge is to find a way to interface the cognitive software to the ROV. There is a research sdk with the Emotiv Epoch but not sure yet what would be the best angle to approach this project.

Command Center: Check!!

It seems quite simple but we had a hard time pluging 3 monitors together. Getting the right graphic card was one thing but then we had to upgrade our power supply. Everything went fine for a couple of hours until the system started to overheating. We had to change the cooling system. I don't even want to talk about the VGA/DVI vs HDMI/VGA vs USB/VGA connectors... and their multiple adaptors/converters. Finally, figuring out the right configuration of AMD Infinity has also been a lot of fun!!!

Once our tests completed, we would have to unplug everything, pack our gear and reassemblate the command center on location. Perhaps we should take some pictures before proceeding :-)

Next step: ROV Controller (Emotiv Neuroheadset, Tobii Eye Tracking and Speech recognition system).


This is a great set up! Just like we had in Tahoe!

Yup, we got inspired! Where you able to merge the 3 screens together? 2 is easy, the third one is usually a lot of fun.

Working around the clock on our command center.
To support our 3-screens setup we almost had to build a PC from scratch. This is a ton of work but we are getting there! Let's keep pushing mates!


I confirm it was painful...but worth it at the end! Patience and perseverance are our best tools as usual ;)

In order to take large and hi-quality pictures of the shiprwecks that we can then process with a photogrammetry software, we are planning to use a GoPro camera that we need to attach horizontaly, below the ROV. Ideally, we would like to be able to control the GoPro camera either from the boat or... even better, from our command center.
Obviously 2.4 GHz Wifi does not work under water. Water absorbs the signal, that's why ROVs are built with tethers.
We were able to receive a signal in 5 inches of water but that's it.
We are certainly not the first ones to run into this issue so if someone has found a solution, please let us know.
Right now, we are thinking about a Wifi coaxial cable with a deep water housing. Something like this:


Wow, this IS great. It's not even that outrageously expensive.

100 meter Go Pro Cable

With the plastic housing you'd only want to go to the limited 60 meters, but I have used one of the larger aluminum housings and taken a GoPro to 300 meters. Never tested live feeds or control over such a length though...

Figuring out some sort of NFC for communicating from the ROV to an attached device would be amazing. We've all talked about and wondered if it could be possible. The 5 inches is interesting! We should keep trying. 5 inches would be enough to communicate back inside the e-tube.

Hey Erika, this is definitely something to consider. At such low cost it is worth experimenting.
As per the camera housing, this crowdfunded company claims that their customers can reach 9,000 ft!!!! OpenROV max depth is about 30 meters I believe. The ROV would have to be built from scratch and designed to resist to such barometric pressure. That said, it would be cool to send an open-ROV based project to Challenger Deep!!
This company is based in Port Saint Lucie which is very close from Fort Pierce where we are planning to map the Urca de Lima. We'll stop by and maybe we can brainstorm we them. I'll keep you posted.

David, not sure that the 5 inches observation from a device to another would be still valid if one of them is inside the e-tube. What about using a Wifi coaxial cable from the device to the e-Tube, and then the tether to transmit the collected data?

I agree you may not get 5 inches of WiFi underwater and through the E-tube, but dependent upon where you mount the WiFi in the E-tube (and if gain) you may only need about 1 inch see

Another way to connect a device back into the OpenROV (It may not suit the GoPro solution well) is that from the ROV's Homeplug adaptor only 2 twisted pairs are used to connect to the Beaglebone Black leaving 2 spare twisted pairs available at the ROV's Homeplug adaptor so you could get IP streaming with those something similar to

Hey Scott,
Thanks for your comments. I was talking about your setup and your GoPro mount to my colleagues. I was wondering if the camera could be attached to a flat piece of plastic and horizontally secured using the two long rods/screws located at the bottom of the ROV.
Your setup is great but it covers the e-Tube and the lens of the main camera. By using the two rods/screws we could position the GoPro right below the e-Tube and so reduce the distance between the WiFi backpage and a remote control or something similar.
Regarding the WiFi, the first solution seems more suited for a GoPro camera if the remote control can be place in the E-Tube... but then, how can we press the button of the GoPro camera from the surface?

Hi Benoit
I looked at a similar concept using the M5 threaded rod before going the way I did, but anything you come up with would be interesting to see (same issue different approaches are always good)

The GoPro doesn't really get in the view of the OpenROV camera (I'll go back and post a few more pictures on the original post to show you but basically when the OpenROV webcam is in the neutral straight forward location (A button on the keyboard in the Cockpit) you don't see the GoPro and this only comes into view of the 6th and last "step" down

RE Wifi I'm still not sure of the best way forward in the big picture part of me thinks a more dedicated camera payload (think down facing camera/video a couple of lasers for the distance from the bottom and a fast small camera for visual odometry into either a BBB or Pi connected back via the spare twisted wire LAN pairs)

GoPro's are sort of open source so a web browser interface is a possibility, I would suggest a first test would be to put a phone in the E-tube streaming video from a GoPro to the phone and then submerge it, if you still getting a feed it is then a place to start and then add say a USB Wifi into the E-tube etc

I currently just kick off data collection at the surface and keep it running the whole time

Hi Benoit

I looked at a similar concept using the M5 threaded rod before going the way I did, but anything you come up with would be interesting to see (same issue different approaches are always good)

The GoPro doesn't really get in the view of the OpenROV camera (I'll go back and post a few more pictures on the original post to show you but basically when the OpenROV webcam is in the neutral straight forward location (A button on the keyboard in the Cockpit) you don't see the GoPro and this only comes into view of the 6th and last "step" down

RE Wifi I'm still not sure of the best way forward in the big picture part of me thinks a more dedicated camera payload (think down facing camera/video a couple of lasers for the distance from the bottom and a fast small camera for visual odometry into either a BBB or Pi connected back via the spare twisted wire LAN pairs)

GoPro's are sort of open source so a web browser interface is a possibility, I would suggest a first test would be to put a phone in the E-tube streaming video from a GoPro to the phone and then submerge it, if you still getting a feed it is then a place to start and then add say a USB Wifi into the E-tube etc

I currently just kick off data collection at the surface and keep it running the whole time

Hi Benoit

I looked at a similar concept using the M5 threaded rod before going the way I did, but anything you come up with would be interesting to see (same issue different approaches are always good)

The GoPro doesn't really get in the view of the OpenROV camera (I'll go back and post a few more pictures on the original post to show you but basically when the OpenROV webcam is in the neutral straight forward location (A button on the keyboard in the Cockpit) you don't see the GoPro and this only comes into view of the 6th and last "step" down

RE Wifi I'm still not sure of the best way forward in the big picture part of me thinks a more dedicated camera payload (think down facing camera/video a couple of lasers for the distance from the bottom and a fast small camera for visual odometry into either a BBB or Pi connected back via the spare twisted wire LAN pairs)

GoPro's are sort of open source so a web browser interface is a possibility, I would suggest a first test would be to put a phone in the E-tube streaming video from a GoPro to the phone and then submerge it, if you still getting a feed it is then a place to start and then add say a USB Wifi into the E-tube etc

I currently just kick off data collection at the surface and keep it running the whole time

On our way back from Tampa, we stopped by Fort Piece, on the East coast of Florida.
In the park of the St. Lucie County Historical Museum (South Causeway Park), behind the building, we were able to see the original anchor and two cannons of the Urca de Lima. The canons were removed from the underwater site in the 1920s. Four cement canons replace the originals at the site today. Originally, there were as many as sixteen cannons and four anchors raised from the wreck site. Some of them can also be seen at the Pinewood Park.
The museum hosts a permanent exhibits called "Golden Galleons". It includes many artifacts recovered from the wrecks, including weapons, maps, tools, pottery, jewelry and information regarding the Spansh treasure fleet.

The St. Lucie County Historical Museum is located at 414 Seaway Drive in Fort Pierce (Google Maps might take you on the other side of the bridge).
The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4p.m.


Sometimes things do not happen exactly as planned. Unfortunately our last rehearsal did not succeed. For the last couple of days, we prepared for testing with our long-range Wifi structure but we were not able to transfer any bits of data despite our repeated attempts. Is that a failure? No, it's a learning curve! Are we going to give up or down scale our project? No and not because we are stubborn (yes, we are) but because we firmly believe that it can be done! Back to South Florida, we have plenty of scenarios we need to examine one-by-one until we identify the issue.
After all, we are not the first people on earth to use a Wifi connection between a boat and a command center. The use of this connection is innovative but this technology has been available for a while.
The long-range Wifi antenna-router system we used has a range of about 7-miles which is way more than what we need for our expedition.
The Wifi antenna-router was mounted directly on our powerboat. We used a pole to maintain it above us but it might have been too low. Using the masthead of a sailboat might solve the issue. This antenna-router is supposed to capture Wifi signals from hotspots on shore, connecting boaters to the internet via Ethernet cable running from the antenna to a receiver or computer. This bridging process is what we call a PoE (Power over Ethernet).
Connection speed for Wifi antenna-router depends on the quality of the Wifi connection on shore which was managed by our second team. The connection was successfully tested and was fast enough for sending/receiving Voice/video data from the boat.
We are also going to contact the manufacturer of the antenna and troubleshoot the issue with their help.
"Failure is not an option!"


I think I figured out what the issue was ;)
Check your inbox!

You had a solid line of site between the antennas? Way to stay tenacious!


ça c'est de l'équipement !

Ca donne envie de venir!

Benoit toujours au top lol

DorianBlue, We've already check that but let's try again.

Jpg, Francis and Philippe Thanks for the follow!

Erika What do you mean? This is only a point-to-point Wifi bridge. We were close enough from the coast, it should work but I think we are onto something. The issue should have been fixed by now.

Are you using 900MHz non line of site access points? What was the issue? I'm curious because i'd like to set one of these up as well.

This is what we use
The antenna was overpowered and it cause the the system to shut down when we were close from our hotspot. We need to do more testing but we are making good progress.

We are now in Safety Harbor in the bay of Tampa, preparing our first experiment at sea. We have been working tirelessely over the last two days. This is going to be another short night but we are making good progress, one step at a time.
This area is pefect to test our long-range wireless communication system. It works great on paper but we still need to test it in real-life conditions.
We are loading a rental powerboat with our gear and equipment while a second team is setting up an improvized command center.
If you live in the Tampa area, come early tomorrow morning to the marina in Safety Harbor to join us.


La classe !! Je devine le matos dedans ça doit pas rigoler ! C'est léger ce genre d'engin ?

Jpg C'est un kit a monter soi-meme. Tu as raison, ce n'est pas tres lourd comme appareil. Tu peux commander un kit ici si tu es interesse:

Non-Invasive survey of the legendary Spanish ship the Urca de Lima
In order to establish a proven methodology allowing underwater archaeologists and conservation specialists the possibility to realize a survey of a shipwreck combining the OpenROV platform with innovative techniques such as Photogrammetry and 3D modelling, we are going to customize the ROV and conduct a test on an existing wreck site and then compare the results with existing data.

High-resolution photographs, and 3D reconstructions can help us monitoring the condition of preserved areas and protected sites. The information collected and analyzed can be used as the basis for further investigations led by local or national institutions in charge of Heritage Conservation.

Using digital photographs, we can easily create 3D-models of an archaeological site. After taking hundred of pictures of a site combined with a georeferred measurement system, we process them with a special software to obtain point cloud data. The software identifies the tie points between the images and generates a global orthophoto which can be manipulated in 3 dimensions. OpenROV will have to be modified to carry a high-resolution camera pointing to the seabed and controlled remotely to take one picture every 5 seconds. The high-res camera would have to be placed below the hull of the ROV. Ideally, for better results, the route will be planned and the ROV should be able to follow it autonomously.

The Urca de Lima was part of the famous Spanish treasure fleet that sank on the coasts of Florida during the hurricane of 1715. The Urca de Lima, a Dutch-built vessel of 305-ton that was first called Santisima Trinidad got its nickname due to its storage capabilities and it was also name after its owner, Don Miguel de Lima. The Spanish treasure fleet was led by Capitan General Don Juan de Ubilla.
In Havana, Ubilla's fleet was joined by the South American squadron of Antonio de Echeverz. The royal convoy was composed by five ships of the New Spain fleet (led by Ubilla), six of the Tierra Firme fleet (led by Echervez), and by one French merchant ship which was detained in Havana so it could not reveal the location and the departure date of the treasure fleet to French privateers. The trip was delayed and despite the peak of the hurricane season, the new assembled fleet of eleven vessels set sail from Cuba on July 24th, carrying 14 million pesos' worth of treasure and cargo.
The plan was to sail along the East coast of Florida and rode the Gulf Stream until present-day Cap Canaveral and then cross the Atlantic Ocean, until they reach Spain.
On July 30th, the treasure fleet gets hit by a violent hurricane and the ships are pushed onto the shallow reefs. In a matter of hours, every single ship (besides the French merchant ship, the Grifon) has been destroyed, more than 1,000 lives were lost and about 1,500 people survived and were able to made it to shore, spreaded over 30 miles of inhospitable lands.
Despite the strenght of the hurricane, the ship was relatively intact. Unlike other ships from the treasure fleet, the Urca de Lima carried no royal treasure but vanilla, chocolate, sassafras, incense... and private chests of silver and gold. The survivors were able to recover some food and supplies from the ship allowing them to sustain themselves until troops arrived 31 days later.
The Spanish sent troops to salvage the ship but then they burned it to the waterline to conceal its position from pirates and looters. The Spanish were able to recover much of the treasure and other goods from the 1715 and the 1733 fleets that were both destroyed by hurricanes. In July 1716, the salvage operation led by the Spanish resulted in the recovery of 5 million pesos. However, the famous pirates, Henry Jannings and Charles Vane were able to discover the location of the Spanish salvage camp and the Urca de Lima. They attacked the camp with 300 men and returned to Port Royal (Jamaica) with the equivalent of 350,000 pesos in silver and gold. The sunken ships were then forgotten until the 20th century when most of them were discovered by the first modern treasure hunters in 1928.

Once the site discovered, treasure hunters started recovering artefacts. While they obtained salvage permits from the State of Florida, they did not use proper archaeological techniques and much evidence that could have provided some valuable information about the ship and the treasure fleet has been destroyed. In 1984. the State of Florida stopped issuing salvage permits and began enacting laws to protect historical shipwrecks.

The wreck is located near Fort Pierce, about 1,000 yards North of Pepper Beach and became Florida's first Underwater Archaeological Preserve in 1987. In 2001 the site was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic PLaces. The site is marked by an underwater plaque (N 27 30.321 W 080 17.976). It is the only surviving example of an "Urca". The wreck site lies in 10-15 feet of water, approximatively 200 yards from shore. Over time, the wreck that is mainly made of wood, has been destroyed by waves and shipworms but some important parts of the ship are still lying on the seabed. Ballast stones are scattered all around, grain of the wood timbers and planks can also be seen. Unfortunately, its cannons have been removed by treasure hunters but five replicas made of concrete have been placed South from the wreck (N 27 30.311 W 080 17.959). An anchor from another 1715 wreck has also been added (N 27 30.313 W 080 17.978). The original four cannons and the anchor are now on display around the city of Fort Pierce.The site is perfect for our expedition. A rental apartment complex is located a few hundred feet from the beach. This is where we are going to install our command center and from where we will try to remotely control the ROV.

Note #1: If you are planning to visit this site, please remember the following:
- Anchor only at a the mooring buoy placed at the site.
- Display a "divers down" flag.
- No spear fishing is allowed within 100 feet of the site.
- Any unauthorized disturbance, excavation, or removal of artifacts is strictly prohibided. Please help keep the site intact for others.
- "Take only photos and leave only bubbles."

Note #2: Exhibits including artefacts from the 1715 treasure fleet can be seen at the following locations:
- Museum of Florida History, Tallahassee
- McLarty Treasure Museum, Melbourne Beach
- St Lucie County Historical Museum, Fort Pierce

Note #3: The Urca de Lima, painting by William Trotter


Hey guys sounds very interesting! There's so much to do indeed, wishing you all the best in your endeavor!

@henryharteveldt Thanks! Obviously, this is just the tip of the iceberg. We have a lot more work to do.

Sounds amazing! Are you using Fugro Viewer for the 3D renderings? It's a program I've had a lot of luck with when stitching together 3D sonar images of shipwrecks.

Thanks Erika. We have been using Autodesk 123D a lot with UAVs. It is free and their premium version is unexpensive. That said, we also use Pix4D from time to time and it is has been our best experience with an image processing software. It is expensive but from a qualitative standpoint it is great! We'll take a look at Fugro Viewer 3D. Apparently it works well with LIDAR.

Powodzenia w tym wielkim projekcie

Dziękuje bardzo Dobbin and thanks to Google for the translation :-)

Go big or go home!
Getting our sailing certification with an offshore sailing school in the New England/Nova Scotia area.


Completing our set of tools as per the bills of materials for OpenROV 2.6.
For those of you who've already built their ROVs, any feedback/recommendations regarding some of the products from the bill of materials?


Wow, this is exciting! Actually yes, I've operated my ROV in super salty caribbean water and I find that an aerosol silicone spray is much more reliable for protecting the exposed motors than WD-40. WD-40 only displaces water, and has a tendency to attract dirt into small spaces. Oh! Looks like you've got one in there. In that case, Rock On.

Thanks for the tip!
By any chance do you remember the brand of the product you used instead of WD-40?

Make sure you also get the epoxy with the mix applicator tip. There are some small holes and places where only that applicator works. I couldn't find any in any of the stores around, so I had to order 4 tubes off Amazon. And I didn't see the acrylic cement. I got that right off the materials list. Had to order for that one too.

We had to order the acrylic cement online (we used the link provided by OpenROV). Thanks for the tip regarding the epoxy mix applicator. Do you remember the name of the product? Thanks again Kevin!!

Planning, planning, planning... This is our master plan and it is a bit ambitious but it is such a great opportunity for us to start testing new human-machine interfaces.
The technology is available, it works on paper, we just have to "make it happen". OpenExplorer is a great tool and a great source of inspiration. We love the idea of deploying a command center at shore and being able to operate the ROV from a long distance using long-range wireless transmitters.
Since we should be able to control the ROV from a ground station, why not trying to interface the ROV with something more immersive than a joystick? Of course, I am glad that all these years playing video games are finally going to be applied to something interesting but why not trying something else?
When we use Google Earth for our expeditions, we now manipulate the interface with gesture control systems or even with eye-tracking. Our team was able to create a program to control a small quadcopter with a gesture control system (LEAP motion) and we have been experimenting eye-tracking capabilities since 2005. Controlling the ROV with your own eyes while you seat comfortably at home would be such an amazing and immersive experience. Potentially, with the development of wireless ROVs and with a better autonomy, you could literraly dive and explore oceans from anywhere in the world. This is worth trying, it opens so many possibilities.
Even better, what if you could control the ROV with your... mind!? You no longer "operate" the ROV, you ARE the ROV. Once again, the technology is available, we just need to figure out the code to connect the whole thing together. We will use a neuroheadset from Emotiv (another very promising startup company) and we'll see how far we can go with this project.
If you live in Florida and want to join us, please feel free to contact us (leave your email address in the comments).


I love the emotiv idea! We've tried integrating the Leap motion before, but haven't made much progress lately (too busy). The leap would be especially good for manipulating a gripper arm.

Man this is just way too cool!

Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and support...we definitely share the same passions!

@David It was possible to pair the Emotiv Epoc with a UAV but the end result was very limited. Basically, it is one thing to implement up & down commands, eventually right and left but it is no subtle enough to interpret brain signals for speed control and I don't even want to talk about the calibration process. It might be more suitable for an ROV due to its environment even though I doubt we'll be able to achieve anything but a simple up & down demo. We are just at the beginning of something, it will take time. The Leap motion experiment is also interesting. You are absolutely right, while ROV navigation might not be suitable for a motion control system, it would be great for a gripper arm. Is there any gripper arm for OpenROV? Perhaps Leap Motion or one of their competitors would be interested in building a prototype for their own marketing needs. It would be worth contacting them.
Another thing that can be done is FPV. We can even imagine something compatible with the Oculus Rift. It works for UAVs, why not for ROVs?

@erikabergman Thank you! We were very impressed by your expedition and retracing your journey with OpenExplorer has been insightful and inspiring. Keep up the good work!

How exciting guys u r contributing to make the world a better place! I'm going to share ur project with my friends to spread the word...hope this will help!

Thank you!

I am impressed by the idea and plan, just great

We've reached our first milestone.
We recommend anyone who is planning to operate a boat in order to take their OpenROV offshore to take a class with the Coast Guards. Even if you know how to operate a boat, the content of this class is very refreshing and there is always something new to learn. Next steps: Sailing & powerboat lessons in Massachussets and in the Gulf of Mexico, and we also need to start assemblating the ROVs.


Toutes mes félicitations Benoît ! Avec tous mes encouragements, quel beau projet tu as, tu iras loin je me fais aucun soucis ! Encore bravo et prend bien soin de toi durant cette aventure ! Grosses bises de Colette et moi-même, à très bientôt !

Merci Roger! Thank you!

Safety first!
Hopefully, we'll never have to use them but considering the number or boating accidents occuring in Florida, we just went shopping and purchased the following items:
- PFDs (inflattable type III for coastal operations and type I for offshore expeditions)
- Fire extinguishers (for type A, B & C fires)
- Sound producing device
- Visual Distress Signals (flares)
- VHF-FM Radio
- Hand-operated pump
- First-aid kit
- We are now looking at EPIRB stations, emergency position-indicating radio beacons. Recreational boats are not required to carry EPIRBs but if you go offshore I think it is a must-have.


Climate change will damage 70 % of the world's coral by the year 2030.
It's a problem in Florida, which is home to the only barrier reef along the continental U.S.
We have already identified several areas where rare species of coral are unprotected and at risk.
In order to assess the impact of pollution on these rare species, we'll choose two areas. One impacted by human pollution and another one where there is little to no human traffic.
Let's start charting our way to get there. In today's day it is easy to find digital charts but for some reasons I find it much easier to prepare our navigation on paper.
You can easily get your nautical charts here:


In order to reach our objectives, we need to be able to navigate along the coasts of Florida. Of course, we could find someone who already has a boat or even hire a captain, but that would be way too easy. This OpenROV project is such a great opportunity. We can learn so much while working on this project.
We'll need a boat, for sure, but first thing first, we need to learn how to safely operate a vessel.
Thanksfully, the Coast Guards of Florida are doing an amazing job, teaching new boaters like us the basic rules of navigation and seamanship.
There a lot to learn but our instructors are also very knowledgeable about marine biology, shipwrecks and the coral reef which is going to be very helpful for us.


Cool! U of Miami has a Exploration Science program and they teach all sorts of stuff like this:

Small boat handling, ROVs & Drones, Marine Archaelogy, etc

A number of them are in our community already! Check it out!

Cool! U of Miami has a Exploration Science program and they teach all sorts of stuff like this:

Small boat handling, ROVs & Drones, Marine Archaelogy, etc

A number of them are in our community already! Check it out!

Looks like you are already on top of it!!! But if it helps I did SeaSchool with a Fort Lauderdale company, but the classes were held at the Coral Reef Yacht Club in Coconut Grove. It was awesome and I highly recommend them.

They are very helpful with getting your ticket!

@David The Exploration Science program is great but apparently it is part of a Master Degree and it would take 12-15 months to complete it. We want start our field work earlier. That said, we've reached out to them. Perhaps there is an opportunity for a collaboration.

@erikabergman Interesting but did they offer any hands-on practice?

Expedition Background

Who are we and what do we do?
Drones are usually perceived as controversial modern war machines and lately as an alternative to deliver pizzas to packages. Drone technology has beem democratized by the rise of dozen of affordable and versatile multicopters, generating the development of new usages in areas where we first didn't expect them, archaeology being one of them.
Aerial archaeolgy is not something new but using a manned aicraft is still, to this day, something very expensive.
As serial web entrepreneurs and explorers, we have launched "A.D.A.P", the Aerial & Digital Archaeology & Preservation research group. With our team, We trains archaeologists and preservation specialists to use drones. This way, they can easily map existing sites with photographic and 3D representations, discover new sites and reduce the impact of their excavations on the environment, and efficiently protect world heritage sites with new monitoring capabilities.
We are now excited to take on a new challenge with OpenRov. Underwater archeology can certainly benefits from the democratization of ROVs throughout such initiative. We aim at demonstrating the efficiency of OpenRov for complex underwater archaeological tasks and use this project as a vehicle to promote free workshops and trainings designed for preservation specialists.

What the project is about?

Growing up with Jules Vernes and Jacques Cousteau, our journey is inspired by this recollection of memories made with underwater adventures and exploration. Non-invasive technologies are a game changer. At a time when we thought that most of our planet has been already explored, innovation gives Sciences a new and exciting opportunity. It is as if the era of exploration just started over...
There are thousands of historical shipwrecks around the coast of Florida. However, only a few are protected by the Shipwreck Preserves Program. After carefully selecting historical shipwrecks from different eras in non-protected areas, we'll explore the sites, survey the site location and collect data using multiple sensors.
As the Florida Keys also host the most amazing coral reef in the world, we'll use this opportunity to realize a study showing the impact of human activities on endangered coral specifies that we believe shoud be protected by the State.
From a technology perspective, we also plan to combine the OpenROV with a UAV but we'll developp this topic in another post.

How can you help?

  • This project like every other project we are involved with is based on the principles of collaboration and knowledge management.
    Wether you are an expert in marine biology, underwater archaelogy, or an engineer, someone who is also building and experimenting ROV technology with OpenROV or simply someone who is interested in our project, please share you thoughts with us. Your feedback is extremely valuable for us and we welcome new team members!

  • Spread the word! The OpenROV project is currently giving away 5 ROVs to the projects with the top number or followers. Simply create your profile at and follow our project page. Then share it on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks and invite your friends to follow us. OpenRov has made underwater exploration more affordable but when you need multiple units so you can experiment with them or use 2-3 of them in synch so you can survey a larger area faster, it can become very expensive and we will really welcome a new kit.
    This new kit will be equipped with
    Finally, let me emphasize how much the OpenRov project means for us and for what we believe in. This community is clearly revolutionnizing this industry and the impact on Sciences is more than significant. By following this page and by sharing our project with your friends and family, you also contribute to this community.

Thanks for your help and please check this page often for updates.

  • Ben

Ben, this sounds awesome! Excited to follow along. Also, love the logo!

Thanks David!
You might have to redesign this logo soon as we are going.... underwater now ;-)

bonne continuation ...

Hi Benoit,
Multicopter for Aerial photographs and a OpenROV for underwater pictures.
A great combination. Quite to my taste.
The Multikopter I have, still missing the OpenROV
Greetings Holger from Germany

Contribute to this expedition

Email Address
Number card
Postal Code

Review Your Contribution

You have chosen to contribute to expedition.

Confirm your details:

  • Name:

  • Email:

  • Last 4 digits:

Click below to proceed.

Thank You for Your Contribution!

Fundraising Details:


Tell us how raising these funds will impact your expedition
You're almost there, we just need to know three more things:
Is any part or component of your project funded by the National Geographic Society or a National Geographic Society Grant?
Is anyone on your expedition/project team affiliated, either currently or in the past, with the National Geographic Society?
Did you apply for a grant/funding from the National Geographic Society for this project?
You have a goal to raise by for:
Is any part or component of your project funded by the National Geographic Society or a National Geographic Society Grant?
You’ve responded:
Is anyone on your expedition/project team affiliated, either currently or in the past, with the National Geographic Society?
You’ve responded:
Did you apply for a grant/funding from the National Geographic Society for this project?
You’ve responded:

Thank You

Fundraising is almost live!
Thank you for applying to collect contributions! We will review your request and follow up with next steps via email.
Feel free to email us if you have any questions.