Non-Invasive Archaeology & Coral Reef Preservation in FloridaOctober 31 2014
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: http://bit.ly/1y6UkYd
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: amazon.com/dp/B00JFPF0UQ/ref=wlitdpopdnSttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=3OZ0ZRRFK99HD&coliid=I2TXCR92EBGQ4C
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.
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 moore.org
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!
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.
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.
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: futurelearn.com/courses/shipwrecks
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 taras.org
Here is also an overview of one of their groundbreaking works: esri.com/news/arcuser/0609/coralmap.html
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 www.drgeeklab.com/
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: wired.com/2014/09/go-pro-hero-4
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 (nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/laws/esa). 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!
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).
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: cam-do.com/GoProUnderwaterSolutions.html
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!"
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.
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
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).
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.
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: charts.noaa.gov/InteractiveCatalog/nrnc.shtml
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.
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 www.openexplorer.com 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.
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