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ROV enhancements

ROV geographic information system upgrades
Lead Scientist: Jim Barry

This proposal addresses problems with the integration of remotely operated vehicle (ROV) navigation data and the ‘real-time’ MBARI-specific extensions to a commercial Geographic Information System (GIS) package. We also propose to improve our at-sea access to the Western Flyer/Tiburon core data-streams during long expeditions.

a) ROV Real-time GIS Upgrade

ArcView GIS software has been used very effectively with the MBARI ship / ROV systems to track dives in relation to high-resolution basemaps, integrating available map data with ROV operations and science goals. ArcNav is the name of the real-time GIS tracking software extensions package written by Gerry Hatcher in 1997 and used extensively on both MBARI vessels. These extensions enable scientists and ROV pilots to navigate the vehicle over ArcView GIS basemaps in real-time and permit users to mark points with comments and vehicle data directly into their ArcView projects. Users have come to rely on the ‘markpoint files’ created by this system. These files contain the map locations along with the comments and associated vehicle navigation data. One objective of this proposal is to modify the ArcNav scripts to ensure that the data currently being collected in the ‘markpoint files’ can be linked to and archived with other mission data in the navigation database.

b) Western Flyer Data Integration

Efficient ship/ROV operations are compromised by the current post-cruise 'batch' nature of dive information processing, in which the expedition database and archives are updated only when the vessel returns to home port or when the data is hand-carried back. In either case, data is still not as easily accessible on-board for the duration of the voyage. A portion of this proposal will address making relevant portions of the expedition database and newly acquired, minimally processed, data more immediately accessible at sea on the Western Flyer.