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UK company uses satellite imagery for ocean depths study

Rotterdam: Remote sensing can show a new way to bathymetry, or the study of underwater depth of lake or ocean floors, making it faster and cheaper, said David Crichley, CEO, Proteus, a UK-based mapping and surveying company specialising in sea bed and environmental mapping products by use of satellite imagery.

Crichley, who was speaking at the session on ‘Water — Resources and Water’ at the Geospatial World Forum 2013, said the use of satellite imagery can get down bathymetry costs by over 10 times compared to the more expensive options of echo sounding or LiDAR.

Proteus has taken up and successfully delivered some significant projects like mapping of the sea near Wexford Harbour in Ireland and remote island survey of Saipan waters off Northern Mariana Islands. The projects, costing one-tenth of that of LiDAR and using DigitalGlobe’s World View 2 images, are great examples of how savings can be made by ruling out the need for ground truthing etc.

Since in most such cases, it is the government agencies from marine or environment department doing these kind of studies, not much attention is paid to the cost. “I think that is not a good way to use the taxpayers’ money,” said Crichley, who is of the opinion that price points can further be reduced if there is further demand for this technology. He also threw upon the question to the audience and the industry as to how a sustainable business model can be introduced and funded in the short term. “We have the opportunity to tap the vast archives imagery database of DigitalGlobe and create new seabed mapping products. Also, this method is faster, doesn’t have issues like licensing, international borders, or special permission to fly planes etc. and can do much more than what simple bathymetry can do,” he added.

Source: Our Correspondent