Integration of a Geometrics Magnetometer into a Teledyne Gavia AUV

Val Schmidt
Research Scientist

Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, 3:00pm
Chase 130

Art Trembanis at The University of Delaware, in collaboration with Weston Systems Inc. and Geometrics Inc., was recently awarded a US Department of Defense grant to integrate a total field magnetometer into a Teledyne Gavia model AUV. The grant was provided under the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), which awards funds for development and demonstration of technologies addressing environmental concerns of the DoD. A Geometrics G-882 total field magnetometer was integrated into a Gavia AUV flooded section with a separate encased payload section for associated electronics. As Art’s AUV engineer, I was responsible for field operations and testing. The system was bench tested in the Fall of 2011 at the US Naval Academy and field tested in the spring of 2012 in Lewes, Delaware and St. Petersburg, Florida. Field tests in Florida were accomplished with support from SRI Inc. which provided both test and blind ranges with seeded targets of known size. An introduction to magnetometer operation will be provided along with our integration efforts, field test results and project status.


Val Schmidt received his Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of the South, Sewanee, TN in 1994. During his junior undergraduate year, he joined the Navy and served as an officer in the submarine fleet aboard the USS HAWKBILL from 1994 to 1999. In 1998 and 1999, the USS HAWKBILL participated in two National Science Foundation sponsored “SCICEX” missions to conduct seafloor mapping from the submarine under the Arctic ice sheet. Val served as Sonar and Science Liaison Officer during these missions. Val left the Navy in 1999 to work for Qwest Communications as a telecommunications and Voice Over IP engineer from 2000 to 2002. In 2002, Val began work as a research engineer for the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University where he provided engineering support both on campus and to several research vessels in the academic research fleet. Val acted as a technical lead aboard the US Coast Guard Icebreaker HEALY over several summer cruises in this role.

Val completed his Master’s Degree in Ocean Engineering from the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire in 2008. His thesis involved development of an underwater acoustic positioning system for whales that had been tagged with an acoustic recording sensor package. Val continues to work as an engineer with the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping where his research focuses on seafloor and water column mapping from autonomous underwater vehicles, sensor development and sonar signal processing.