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Marine Technology Research Unit

Developing a 3D toolkit for rapid surveying of marine environments

Researchers in Artificial Intelligence and Information Processing are collaborating with Biological Sciences and the Coral Reef Research Unit at the University of Essex to develop state-of-the-art techniques for rapid marine surveying and coral reef conservation using 3D technology. By combining computer vision and artificial intelligence algorithms with multi-sensor surveying, it is possible to scale up traditional surveying approaches and increase the accuracy and scope of data that can be collected and analysed. The team have worked in field sites around the world, from the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific to temperate waters in the North-East Atlantic.

Some recent projects include:

  • Underwater structural surveying in 4pi steradians [Dominica]
  • Rapid 3D mapping and classification of benthic substrate [Seychelles]
  • Automatic classification of substrate (ImageCLEFcoral 2019 and 2020)
  • Wreck and reef surveying in limited visibility [United Kingdom]
  • 3D printing high resolution coral structures in natural materials

3D printing a complex Acropora sp coral in PLA.
An 3D model of marine wreckage using photogrammetry