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Coral Reef Mapping using Ocean Drones and Laser Quadrat

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posted on 30.11.2019, 05:51 by Cesar Jung-HaradaCesar Jung-Harada, Ken Yuen Kian CHEW, Eddie YUNG, Sidhant GUPTA, Rohak SINGHAL, Nitin PENDKAR, Kaveesh SIVARAJ, Shoyu KANEKO, Priyank SHARMA, Ethan BUI, Justin GRACE, Dooho HAN, Gökçe ÖZER, Katherine CHIN

One of the biggest challenges with regard to coral conservation is

that reef mapping is currently carried out manually, with a group a

divers manually moving and placing a large PVC quadrat for every

unit area of the reef and then photographing each unit separately.

[U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 084­01]. This process is

time­-consuming, dangerous for the divers as well as expensive

resulting in an unfavourable coral monitoring process.

In order to attempt improving the current methodology, a

reef­ mapping drone robot which can sail on the water surface and

photograph and map the reef autonomously at a low cost was built.

This robot updates the physical quadrat which is used today, to a

projected laser quadrat ­ which eliminates the need to dive to the

bottom of the sea while preserving the functionality of the physical

quadrat. To implement this, we use existing GPS stabilization neural

networks and waypoint navigation systems from airborne drone

systems and adapt it to handle the needs of a water borne robot. We

then use a laser based project quadrat coupled with on­board image

processing to extract the required parameters.

Funding

The University of Hong Kong

The Gallant Ho Experiential Learning Fund

History