Underwater video imaging

Brief Description

There are a wide variety of deployment techniques for obtaining underwater video data, including boat-deployed drop, towed, or remotely operated vehicle (ROV) systems, as well as diver hand-held systems. Although the value of the underwater video data is very dependent upon water clarity, the video data can provide valuable insight into the qualitative water column and seafloor conditions.

See NOAA's summary table "Summary view of underwater video imaging technique". (196 KB PDF)




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Underwater video imaging

Video data can be used to validate the benthic habitat map determined and produced by the means of interpreting remote sensed data so as to produce a detailed assessment of biological conditions on the seafloor and in some cases in the water column.

The underwater video footage is usually collected in conjunction with the still photography equipment package, such as being incorporated in to a towed sled with the still cameras, or as a hand-held diver or an ROV ( remotely operated vehicles ) deployed system. The video has some major safety and efficiency advantages in that it can be deployed in areas that are too cold, deep, or dangerous for divers.


Georeferenced underwater video of a shallow reef with kelp in the Marmion Park here to download video. (128 KB MOV) (Apple QuickTime format)

Also the data collected is of a high enough resolution to identify individual plant and animal species. The video data can be geo-referenced as a permanent record that is objectively recorded and therefore not subject to the diver's interpretation. However, all of the criteria that effect photography will also apply to the underwater video, such as detrimental rersults caused by poor water clarity, limited in the spatial coverage, etc. A positive aspect is that video data can be viewed later and manipulated (paused, magnified, and so forth) to provide a more comprehensive view of the habitat.

Arc IMS (Image Map Server) VideoView screenshot of video georeferenced on a map display at the southern end of PtAddis Parkhere (1.7 MB MOV) (Apple QuickTime format)

The video survey is time consuming and has a limited coverage, so it is best undertaken after the acoustic or satellite broad scale mapping phase. This is so that optimum areas to be sampled by video can then be best determined and specific transects can be planned. The specific method employed is determined based on water depth, water clarity, size of survey area, purpose for survey, and costs of operating the equipment.

for details of an image-based application capable of automated classification of benthic objects which has been developed by James Wise. Research Officer School of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. The University of Western Australia. Research Associate RMIT University Victoria.

CB 7.01. Milestone report for task 1.2.6, Development of enhanced video based techniques for the identification of benthic objects. May 2006.

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