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Stormdrains, Starfish and Virtual Salish See

September 28 2017
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Over the past two decades we've been documenting the environmental impacts of a dense and ever expanding population surrounding an inland sea. We have been following habitat destruction and restoration, the sea star wasting syndrome outbreak and tracking subsequent biodiversity shifts at local dive sites, stormwater pollution and marine debris impacting our precious Emerald Sea. It is now time to get more citizen scientists on board and bring the big picture together and grow public awareness on ALL fronts. It is our hope that by utilizing TRIDENT ROVs and cutting edge 360 filmmaking techniques we can survey and document many more sites, collect more video and data. With these visuals we hope to help support political action that focuses on Protecting and Preserving our precious emerald sea.

September 28 2017

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Name: Laura James
E-Mail: Ljjames@mac.com
Account ID: 134353729


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Preparation Stage

Marine protected areas are going to be a KEY part in the future of marine conservation. Learn a bit more about a success story in Mexico where a village (yes, it takes a village) saved a 20,000 year old reef habitat.

Mock up of future ‘why is the Salish Sea Green?”

Underwater educator Avatar!


A couple weeks ago we had another huge boost to the Virtual Salish See project. My underwater educator idea was selected as the focus for a team at a Cinematic VR Hackathon! With the help of a couple of AMAZING unity developers and MoCap Now (a local motion capture stage) we were able to create a functional underwater educator avatar. Following the first iteration made with the makehuman avatar generator, we are now working on a ‘cold water’ version of the DiverLaura avatar, thanks to a full body scan with a Structure Sensor in my drysuit. Next up the mesh will be cleaned up and then rigged to the original motion sequence.
The following video is a mock-up of what we did in Unity so far. The project will have gaze detect, pop up educational windows and things like virtual fish counts (just to name a few)

Another amazing donation, this time dearly needed $ so that we could purchase a number of 360 viewing headsets to help us grow awareness for the health and future of the Salish Sea.

With 6 (soon to be 7) GearVR’s in hand, the next step was to figure out if i could control them without 3rd party software or chromecasting etc. Luck being on my side, i was able to locate a few different .cfg samples that would allow me to do just that. I did have to pick up a little TP-link for setting up our own private wifi network so that it would work, but all in all, since my phones are generations old Galaxy s6 i needed to keep it as simple as possible to reduce the potential for overheating.

Huge thank you to the generous donor who gifted the project a few Kodak Pixpro SP360 4k. i was going to disassemble my 3 pixpro array but was dragging my feet. Thanks to this gift I was able to push forward with setting up our #360trident without having to disassemble the other array which is often used to help teach an intro to #UW360 allowing other divers to try their hand at shooting underwater 360.
With dedicated UW housings and cameras I went ahead and set Barium up yesterday and will take her out tomorrow for her maiden voyage as a #360Trident. Following that will be a quick intro to stitching 'back to back' (technically top/bottom like with aerial drones) footage. I'll share example and also stitching with both Autopano Video Pro / Giga combo and the free proprietary software from Kodak Pixpro.

So much excitement in the house!! Look what arrived this week! Getting it all charged up and ready for its maiden voyage to investigate the cove 2 stormdrain. Also working on outfitting my OceanKayak to be the best Trident platform EVERY! :)

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Over the past decade or so my dive buddy Lamont and I have been filming and putting together a somewhat shotgun approach of projects (storm drains, starfish, visibility project, marine debris, etc...) to help build awareness for environmental issue in Puget Sound.


Now with the help of OpenROV and OpenExplorer we hope to bring all these together under one 'roof' so to speak along with a way to involve more citizen scientists and curious individuals and their observations. If you've been interested in observing your local waterways with a ROV but didn't want to build one from a kit, and/or were not ready to buy a TRIDENT sight unseen, we will be running a demo day or two in the not so distant future.

We will be looking to document both sides of the story, positive results from restoration projects (things like the kelp bed by the sculpture park) and negatives (increasing underwater garbage patch off Alki) and straight observations via video transects (seastar wasting syndrome and biodiversity shift follow up).

Standard diving, snorkeling, watershed and beach walking observations also wanted! If you want to be a contributor there will be a number of ways to get involved for curious folks of all ages! If you have a smart phone and can # an Instagram picture, we want you! If you can write coherently about your diving observations and your perceived changes over time, we want you! If you just want to cheer us on, and share a sick starfish picture once in a while, we want you! There will also be other non documenting skills needed, from beach mom to crafty to programmer types... This is about everyone finding a way to get involved that suits your needs, skills and availability. If this sounds like something you, your friends or family, your students , etc.. might want to be involved in, please follow our micro-expedition here.

If you have an idea for a ROV survey in the vicinity of Puget Sound please let me know via the comment section and it may take a bake sale to pay for gas money, but I'll see what we can do.

Hi Laura,
I'm really impressed by your work and the 360 camera work is very impactful to me. I really like that type of immersive experience! I came across your expedition because I am waiting to recieve my Trident and I was curious if you are starting to use your beta unit. I live down in Olympia and am looking forward to getting mine and trying it out. I really like your cause and in the future would like to be involved at some level. I'm also into aerial drones and want to contribute to raising environmental awareness with that form of video capture. I'd be very interested in seeing your Trident in action this winter!

Matt

Hi Matt, our Trident arrived this week and we will be taking it out very soon! Would love to work together to build awareness for the issues impacting our precious Puget Sound!

Very exciting! I'll keep my eye out for videos from the maiden. Can't wait to get mine, sounds like it'll be around February or so when it ships. Yes, working together sounds great! I work for local county government in Olympia and would really like to raise impact awareness through use of video as a communication tool.

I'd love to contribute as well. I am getting diving certified, I have a ROV, I'm a photographer, and I can write more or less coherently :) Sorry if you've covered this elsewhere, but I am not clear on exactly how we go about contributing?

Expedition Background

Hi, my name is DiverLaura and I love Puget Sound


Over the past decade we've been documenting the environmental impacts of a dense population surrounding an inland sea. We have been following Habitat destruction and restoration, the sea star wasting syndrome outbreak and tracking subsequent biodiversity shifts at local dive sites, stormwater pollution and marine debris impacting our precious Emerald Sea. It is now time to get more citizen scientists on board and bring the big picture together and grow public awareness on ALL fronts. It is our hope that by utilizing TRIDENT ROVs we can survey and document many more sites and collect more video and data. With these visuals we hope to help support political action that focuses on Protecting and Preserving our precious emerald sea.