Saturday, July 20, 2019

Hunting bubbles : news from the deep

Visiting the seafloor and becoming mesmerized by some of the amazing sights the team has experienced via ROV SuBastian while studying methane seeps on the U.S. Pacific Northwest margin.

On June 29, 2019, Florida scientists tagged a deep-sea shark from a submersible, a historic first on a research expedition led by OceanX, the Cape Eleuthera Institute and shark expert Dean Grubbs of Florida State University.
At a depth of more than 1,700 feet off the coast of Eleuthera, the team encountered several bluntnose sixgill sharks, including this large female, about 16 feet long.
Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History filmed the encounter.

A giant barrel jellyfish, similar to the size of a human, was spotted off the coast of Cornwall by biologist and wildlife presenter Lizzie Daly.
She came across the sea creature when she was diving near Falmouth on Saturday as part of her Wild Ocean Week campaign, which aims to celebrate our marine wold and raise funds for the Marine Conservation Society.
Barrel jellyfish are the largest species of jellyfish found in British waters.
see CNN

Dr. Nathan Robinson (@ceibahamas), alongside Dr. Edie Widder (@team_orca_), captured the first-ever footage of the giant squid in US waters.
This is only the second time the giant squid has been filmed in the wild (the first time was from #alucia, in Japan, 2012).
But sighting the #giantsquid wasn't the only notable event that day...
Hear how they could've lost it all. Mission and scientific research by the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration, the Cape Eleuthera Institute, and the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (Team ORCA). 
see CNN

Friday, July 19, 2019

Norway (NHS) layer update in the GeoGarage platform

163 nautical raster charts updated

Entire Bailiwick's territorial waters quadruple

An approximate rendering of the change to the territorial waters

From BB

The three islands of the Bailiwick of Guernsey will see the size of their territorial seas quadrupled.

From 23 July, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark will control 12 nautical miles (nm) of sea, the maximum distance permissible by international law.

 Fishing limits extended from 3 Nm to 12 Nm in Bailiwick waters

This means they have greater "control" of the area, including both legislative and law enforcement authority.
In particular, the change will increase the island's ability to "manage and conserve" their fish stocks.

Nautical charts of the Channel islands with the GeoGarage platform (UKHO top / SHOM bottom)

A spokeswoman for the States said the extension would bring necessary "clarity" about the status of the seas in the context of the UK's intention to withdraw from European fishing rules, following its exit from the EU.

The extension is a "unilateral act" made for the Bailiwick by the UK in line with international law.

Deputy Al Brouard, a member of Guernsey's Policy & Resources Committee, said he was "delighted" with the result, arguing that would bring the island greater control "in line with international norms".

One nm equates to 1,852m or 6,076ft, meaning 12nm is approximately 13 miles or 22km.
The territorial limit would be smaller wherever the distance between the islands and another party - France or Jersey - is less than 24 nm.

EEZ (200 Nm) with the GeoGarage platform

Links :

Thursday, July 18, 2019

U.S. Navy and NASA collaborate on Augmented Reality displays

Image courtesy USN / NASA

From Maritime Executive 

Researchers with the U.S. Navy are working with NASA to develop a heads-up display that could be used in both the Navy's atmosphere diving suit and the space agency's new NASA Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) spacesuit.

 David Coan, extra vehicular activity lead for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Center dives at the Aquarius Reef Base underwater habitat.donning a Kirby Morgan-37 helmet equipped with the Divers Augmented Vision Device Generation 1.0 heads-up display during the 23rd NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations in June 2019.

Scientists, engineers and industry partners of Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division are taking their heads-up-display technology, originally designed for diving, from seabed to space.
The Diver Augmented Vision Device (DAVD) is a high-resolution, see-through head-up display (HUD) installed in the face shield of a Kirby Morgan-37 dive helmet.
This system provides divers with high-resolution visual displays of everything from a top-down sonar view of the dive site to text messages, diagrams, photographs, and even augmented reality videos.

“This capability is game changing for divers who usually work in zero visibility conditions - it essentially gives them sight again through real time data and sonar,” said Allie Williams, DAVD team lead engineer.
“Even in good visibility conditions, the DAVD system allows for hands free information and less mental strain of trying to remember topside instructions.
The same benefits can be gained by astronauts as well – including better situational awareness, safety, and allowing them to be more effective in their missions.”

The DAVD development team from Panama City recently joined a team from the Johnson Space Center during the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) exercise at the Aquarius Reef Base underwater habitat in Key Largo.
The base is the only undersea laboratory of its kind in the world, and it gives a NASA with a training environment for space exploration by providing buoyancy comparable to walking on the moon or Mars. During NEEMO-23, NASA astronauts and technical personnel used the latest generation of the system to conduct training missions and test out the idea of using a similar system in their future Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) spacesuits during space exploration missions.

Dennis Gallagher, DAVD team project manager, emphasized the collaborative nature of the Panama City team's development process and the potential to learn more from collaboration with NASA. “You don’t achieve ‘warfighting dominance’ by taking 10 years to finally develop a rugged rotary dial phone,” said Gallagher.
“You achieve it by becoming the collaborator of choice with academia, federal labs, and industry using innovative and creative partnerships. This allows us to develop emerging technologies into new capabilities and solutions for the Warfighter at a significantly accelerated pace.”

Links :

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Will ships without sailors be the future of trade?

Introducing SEA-KIT™
the world's first truly Long-range, Long Endurance, Ocean Capable Autonomous Surface Vessel.

From BBC by Stav Dimitripoulos

On 7 May, customs officers in Ostend, Belgium, received a box of oysters from the UK.
The molluscs had been caught in Essex and transported to Belgium on a 12m (39ft) aluminium-hulled vessel, which traversed the English Channel with no humans on board.
It was the world's first unmanned commercial shipping operation.

The Sea-Kit's achievement was impressive but is there really a market for unmanned shipping?

The crewless boat was carefully watched by four people in a control centre in Tollersbury, Essex, headquarters of Hushcraft, the company behind the design and development of the craft.

The boat's minimalist payload was a box of local oysters

UK and Belgian coastguards also monitored the oysters' progress.
"You could actually listen to the waves hitting the boat," says Ben Simpson, Hushcraft's managing director.

It boasts a hybrid diesel engine, electrical generators, satellite links, CCTV and thermal cameras, an automatic identification system to warn approaching vessels of its position and more.

Onboard cameras and microphones feed information to the control centre


The boat was made by Sea-Kit, and the same vessel helped an international team of hydrographers, funded by the Japanese non-profit Nippon Foundation, win the $4m (£3.2m) Shell Ocean Discovery Xprize for advances in autonomously mapping the oceans.

Now Hushcraft wants Sea-Kit to be used for transporting cargo, hence mounting the 5kg box of oysters - a local delicacy - on to the vessel and sending it to Ostend.
But is there a market for it?
"The benefits are many," says Mr Simpson.
"You can send them around the world to do different jobs at a significantly reduced cost. Then, you don't have to have a galley, you don't have to have toilets. You can utilise space."

They are better for the environment as they can be electrically propelled, and since they can use smaller ports they can replace road transport and cut even more fumes, he says.

Ghost ships

For Lawrence Brennan, a retired US navy captain and adjunct professor of admiralty and maritime law at Fordham University School of Law, all these virtues of uncrewed cargo ships come with certain caveats.

Ships with no sailors mean no risk to human life from fires or other hazards at sea.
No-one needs to recruit staff, pay them, keep them trained or guard against unlicensed crew.
The boats can go anywhere.

But, in Prof Brennan's view, the first Achilles heel of unmanned shipping might be the very technology that created it.
A failure in communications between vessel and base will render it a ghost ship, hopelessly drifting without a soul on board, a hazard to its owners, the owners of its cargo, and the environment, he argues.

Get creative

"Unmanned ships may be stopped by pirates by disabling shots or damaging the ship's propeller and rudder," Prof Brennan continues.
Karolina Zwolak, head of the Navigation Section at the Institute of Navigation and Marine Hydrography of the Polish Naval Academy, contributed to the success of the oysters' voyage.
Part of her job was collision avoidance.
Dr Zwolak is already working on the Sea-Kit international team's next ambitious endeavour, which will be to sail across the Atlantic next year, but is aware of the technology's limitations
"When unexpected situations occur on board, human creativity, experience, and non-schematic thinking can solve the problem," she says.

So she does not see a revolution in the shipping industry in the near future.
"I just believe more and more tasks will be delegated on shore, using communication technology," she says.

From crew to office

For his part, Mr Simpson, who believes crewless short-sea transportation might not be a rarity in five years from now, says that problems such as the risk of piracy plague both manned and unmanned vessels.
He also thinks it is not economically sound to lay people off.
"Unmanned ships need to be built, maintained, and controlled. The people that would have been on the bridge of a manned vessel are now in the office," he maintains, adding that a lot of training will be involved in the transition.

The other obstacle is the law.
"The legal regime is decades, if not a century-and-a-half out of date," says Prof Brennan.
"As unmanned ships were never contemplated until recently, legislation says manning is essential for having a ship that is seaworthy, classified, and authorised to operate in national waters and on the high seas," he explains.

Legal catch-up

For self-navigating ships to crisscross the oceans free from legal constraints, an entirely new maritime legislation will have to be drawn up and embedded in national laws and international regimes, otherwise financiers will be frightened off.

Still, the international maritime community is going through such a frenzy of technological creativity, that for Dr Zwolak there will be a solution soon.
"Technology has always preceded law," she says.

Links :

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Galileo sat-nav system still without service

Galileo, the EU’s satellite navigation system, is currently affected by a technical incident related to its ground infrastructure.
The incident has led to a temporary interruption of the Galileo initial navigation and timing services, with the exception of the Galileo Search and Rescue (SAR) service.

From BBC by Jonathan Amos

Europe's satellite-navigation system, Galileo, remains offline.

The network suffered an outage on Friday due to what has been described as a "technical incident related to its ground infrastructure".

Engineers worked around the clock over the weekend but there is no update yet on when the service will resume.
The problem means all receivers, such as the latest smartphone models, will not be picking up any useable timing or positional information.

These devices will be relying instead on the data coming from the American Global Positioning System (GPS).
And depending on the sat-nav chip they have installed, cell phones and other devices might also be making connections with the Russian (Glonass) and Chinese (Beidou) networks.

Galileo is still in a roll-out, or pilot phase, meaning it would not yet be expected to lead critical applications.
"People should remember that we are still in the 'initial services' phase; we're not in full operation yet," a spokesperson for the European GNSS Agency (GSA) told BBC News.
"This is something that can happen while we build the robustness into the system. We have recovery and monitoring actions, and we are implementing them, and we are working 24/7 to fix this as soon as possible."

The GSA issued a notification on Thursday warning users that Galileo's signals might become unreliable.
An update was then sent out at 01:50 Central European Time on Friday to say that the service was out of use until further notice.

The search and rescue function on Galileo satellites that picks up the distress beacon messages from those at sea or up high mountains is said to be unaffected by the outage.

Is your phone using Galileo?
YES for iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 10/X
Discover if your phone is Galileo-enabled here 

What is Galileo?
  • A project of the European Commission and the European Space Agency
  • 24 satellites constitute a full system but it will also have spares in orbit
  • 24 spacecraft are in orbit today; two more will launch next year
  • Original budget was €3bn but will now cost more than three times that
  • Works alongside the US GPS, Chinese Beidou and Russian Glonass systems
  • Promises eventual real-time positioning down to a metre or less
Galileo is a multi-billion-euro project of the European Union and the European Space Agency.
The EU owns the system, and Esa acts as the technical and procurement agent.

 A difference between Galileo and GPS

There are currently 22 operational satellites in orbit (another two are in space but in testing), with a further 12 under construction with industry.
In addition to the spacecraft, Galileo relies on a complex ground infrastructure to control the network and monitor its performance.

A strong undercurrent can turn a quick dip into a life-threatening experience.
But help is on the way. when you call 112, Galileo’s added accuracy gets the emergency services exactly where they need to go, fast!
Galileo – European satellites saving lives.

Europe's alternative to GPS went "live" with initial services in December 2016 after 17 years of development.
The European Commission promotes Galileo as more than just a back-up service; it is touted also as being more accurate and more robust.

An outage across the entire network is therefore a matter of significant concern and no little embarrassment.

Since its launch in 1978, GPS has become integral to the functioning of all modern economies.
Usage goes far beyond just finding one's way through an unfamiliar city.
The system's timing function has now become ubiquitous in many fields, including in the synchronisation of global financial transactions, telecommunications and energy networks.

Links :

Monday, July 15, 2019

Australia (AHS) layer update in the GeoGarage platform

Australia (AHS) layer update in the GeoGarage platform :
10 nautical raster charts updated & 4 new charts added

The shape of the World, according to old maps

click on the image to enlarge

From Visual Capitalist by Iman Gosh

A Babylonian clay tablet helped unlock an understanding for how our ancestors saw the world.

Dating all the way back to the 6th century BCE, the Imago Mundi is the oldest known world map, and it offers a unique glimpse into ancient perspectives on earth and the heavens.

While this is the first-known interpretation of such a map, it would certainly not be the last.
Today’s visualization, designed by Reddit user PisseGuri82, won the “Best of 2018 Map Contest” for depicting the evolving shapes of man-made maps throughout history.

AD 150: Once Upon A Time in Egypt

In this former location of the Roman Empire, Ptolemy was the first to use positions of latitude and longitude to map countries into his text Geographia.
After these ancient maps were lost for centuries, Ptolemy’s work was rediscovered and reconstructed in the 15th century, serving as a foundation for cartography throughout the Middle Ages.

 Ptolemy World Map

1050: Pointing to the Heavens

The creation of this quintessential medieval T-and-O Beatine map is attributed not to an unknown French monk, but to the Spanish monk Beatus of Liébana.
Although it shows several continents—Africa, Asia, and Europe—its main objective was to visualize Biblical locations.
For example, because the sun rises in the east, Paradise (The Garden of Eden) can be seen pointing upwards and towards Asia on the map.

1154: The World Turned Upside Down

The Arabic geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi made one of the most advanced medieval world maps for King Roger II of Sicily.
The Tabula Rogeriana, which literally translates to “the book of pleasant journeys into faraway lands”, was ahead of the curve compared to contemporaries because it used information from traveler and merchant accounts.
The original map was oriented south-up, which is why modern depictions show it upside down.

 Tabula Rogeriana upside-down

1375: The Zenith of Medieval Map Work

The Jewish cartographer Abraham Cresques created the most important map of the medieval period, the Catalan Atlas, with his son for Prince John of Aragon.
It covers the “East and the West, and everything that, from the Strait [of Gibraltar] leads to the West”.
Many Indian and Chinese cities can be identified, based on various voyages by the explorers Marco Polo and Sir John Mandeville.

After this, the Age of Discovery truly began—and maps started to more closely resemble the world map as we know it today.

1489: Feeling Ptolemy and Polo’s Influences

The 15th century was a radical time for map-makers, once Ptolemy’s geographical drawings were re-discovered.
Henricus Martellus expanded on Ptolemaic maps, and also relied on sources like Marco Polo’s travels to imagine the Old World.
His milestone map closely resembles the oldest-surviving terrestrial globe, Erdapfel, created by cartographer Martin Behaim.
Today, it’s preserved at the Yale University archives.

1529: A Well-Kept Spanish Secret

The first ever scientific world map is most widely attributed to the Portuguese cartographer Diego Ribero.
The Padrón Real was the Spanish Crown’s official and secret master map, made from hundreds of sailors’ reports of any new lands and their coordinates.

 Map Diego Ribero 1529

1599: The Wright Idea

English mathematician and cartographer Edward Wright was the first to perfect the Mercator projection—which takes the Earth’s curvature into consideration.
Otherwise known as a Wright-Molyneux world map, this linear representation of the earth’s cylindrical map quickly became the standard for navigation.

1778-1832: The Emergence of Modern World Maps

The invention of the marine chronometer transformed marine navigation—as ships were now able to detect both longitude and latitude.
Jacques-Nicolas Bellin, a French geographer, was responsible for the 18th century’s highly accurate world maps and nautical charts.
His designs favored functionality over the decorative flourishes of cartographers past.

Finally, the German cartographer and lawyer Adolf Stieler was the man behind Stieler’s Handatlas, the leading German world atlas until the mid-20th century.
His maps were famous for being updated based on new explorations, making them the most reliable map possible.

Is There Uncharted Territory Left?

It is worth mentioning that these ancient maps above are mostly coming from a European perspective.

That said, the Islamic Golden Age also boasts an impressive cartographic record, reaching its peak partially in thanks to Muhammad al-Idrisi in the 11th century.
Similarly, Ancient Chinese empires had a cartographic golden age after the invention of the compass as well.

Does this mean there’s nothing left to explore today?
Quite the contrary.
While we know so much about our landmasses, the undersea depths remain quite a mystery.
In fact, we’ve explored more of outer space than we have 95% of our own oceans.

Links :