Project Title: Small Project: Geospatial analysis of deep-sea environments using ROV video data with CMECS
Project Summary

Lead: Adam Skarke

In collaboration with Mississippi State University: This project will support personnel to design an automated system for the digital mapping of seafloor substrate observed in video data acquired during dives of the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Deep Discoverer aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. Specifically, personnel will create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and design associated scripts in the Python programming language to extract seafloor substrate and navigational data from ROV video annotations. The script will plot the data as color-coded substrate maps, and generate polygon files with associated values for area swept and substrate composition. The substrate classes will be categorized with Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS). The source data will be chatroom and environmental sensor observations (real time annotations) from NOAA Okeanos Explorer dives with ROV Deep Discoverer. The annotations are created in Ocean Networks Canada’s (ONC) SeaTube v2 software by scientists participating in NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer expeditions. The result of the project will be a SOP documenting workflow and a set of ‘Python scripts’ that extract required data from the annotation records, to generate digital maps for each ROV dive and plot the dive tracks and ROV survey areas using color-codes for substrate composition. These products will allow end users to visualize geospatial relationships within NOAA ROV video data in a new way, with a degree of automation that was not previously possible.

Anticipated Management Application(s)  None Defined
Location(s):
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • NW Atlantic
  • SE U.S. Coastal waters
Point of Contact: Office of the Point of Contact:
  • NOS NCCOS
Project Title: Small Project: Geospatial analysis of deep-sea environments using ROV video data with CMECS
Methods/Approach

As noted, Ruby (2017) developed the foundation of an automated geographical information system tool that produces digital maps of CMECS classified environmental features based upon the navigational and environmental sensor data recorded during ROV dives as well as the view angle geometry of the ROV camera system. Specifically, a series of overlapping “viewshed” polygon features are created, which indicate the area of the seafloor imaged by the primary camera of the ROV within a single video frame captured at a given temporal frequency (60 seconds in this case). Each viewshed polygon is assigned a CMECS classification based on the SeaScribe/SeaTube annotated observations of substrate within the corresponding video frame.

CMECS classifications for overlapping sections of adjacent viewsheds are determined based on weighted probabilistic integration of the two constituent classifications.

New procedures (SOPs) will be developed for live annotation of Okeanos Explorer ROV dives using SeaTube v2. SeaTube v2 is used for live annotation and post-dive archival data. SeaScribe is a previous iteration of real-time live annotation software. While there is currently a standard operating procedure (SOP) document for annotating CMECS substrate in SeaScribe during Okeanos dives, a new document will be written to incorporate a new annotation protocol that can create these georeferenced maps with more detail and better reproducibility.

CMECS is a comprehensive framework of common terminology developed for the classification of biological species, water column properties, and seafloor morphology as well as substrate composition in all marine environments including the deep sea. It is organized in a hierarchical structure that allows users to select a set of common terms to describe the marine environment. CMECS was endorsed as a national data standard by the Federal Geographic Data Committee in 2012 (USGS, 2012) with the goal of standardizing marine environmental feature classification across a wide range of geographic locations and spatiotemporal scales. CMECS is adopted by a number of governmental agencies, organizations, and partnerships, notably the Renewable Energy and Marine Minerals Program within the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Project Results and Management Outcomes  None Defined

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