High Resolution Seafloor Mapping for Marine Geology, Marine Archaeology, and Habitat Assessment

Chris Roman
Assistant Professor
University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography
Friday, Oct. 14, 2011, 3:00pm
Chase 130

Detailed photographic and bathymetric maps of the sea floor created with remote or autonomous vehicles have broad applicability for studies in marine geology, biology and archaeology.  This talk will discuss the use of stereo vision, high frequency (1375 kHz) multibeam sonar and structured light laser imaging to create such maps with centimeter level resolution.  Comparisons between these sensors have been made in numerous contexts during the 2010 and 2011 field seasons of the Nautilus Ocean Exploration Program (www.nautiluslive.org).  The goal of this work is to create self consistent multi sensor data products that can be directly compared and fused.  Results will be shown from our efforts to map submerged archaeological sites and a multi faceted research program at the Kolumbo volcanic crater near Santorini, Greece.   Initial tests will also be presented for transferring these methods to a novel Lagrangian imaging float.  This low cost platform can collect high resolution imagery and stereo derived bathymetry while drifting with the current and actively controlling its altitude above the bottom.  The float has been used to collect data in Rhode Island Sound for the Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) ahead of potential wind power developments.



Chris Roman is an assistant professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography specializing in marine robotics and sea floor mapping. He has a BS from Virginia Tech and an MS from the University of California San Diego both in mechanical engineering. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in 2005. His research interests focus on developing sensing systems and methods for acoustic and photographic sea floor mapping. This work involves underwater vehicle design, acoustic instrumentation, image processing and mapping algorithm development. He works in a variety of application areas in marine science, with the goal of finding novel new engineering solutions for interesting science questions. This work takes place in the lab, at sea and around the world.