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Open Access Information Communication Technology (ICT) Tools for Preservation of Underwater Environment: A Vision-Based Posidonia Oceanica Monitoring

Abstract

Underwater monitoring activities are crucial for the preservation of marine ecosystems. Currently, scuba divers are involved in data collection campaigns that are repetitive, dangerous, and expensive. This article describes the application of Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools to underwater visual data for monitoring purposes. The data refer to a Posidonia Oceanica survey mission carried out by a scuba diver using a Smart Dive Scooter equipped with visual acquisition and acoustic localization systems. An acoustic-based strategy for geo-referencing of the optical dataset is reported. It exploits the synchronization between the audio track extracted from a camera and the transponder pings adopted for the acoustic positioning. The positioning measurements are employed within an extended Kalman filter to estimate the diver's path during the mission. A visual odometry algorithm is implemented within the filter to refine the navigation state estimation of the diver with respect to the acoustic positioning only. Moreover, a smoothing step based on the Rauch-Tung-Striebel smoother is applied to further improve the estimated diver's positions. Finally, the article reports the results of two different data processing for monitoring applications. The first one is an image mosaicking obtained by concatenating subsequent frames, whereas the second one refers to a qualitative distribution of the Posidonia Oceanica over the mission area accomplished through an image segmentation process. The two outcomes are plotted over a satellite image of the surveyed area, showing that the proposed process is an effective tool capable of facilitating divers in their monitoring and inspection activities.

Keywords: Posidonia Oceanica monitoring; underwater data geo-referencing; underwater vision; visual odometry

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2021

More about this publication?
  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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