Empire Heritage & Hempton Marine Habitat Inspections



Marine Habitat Inspections

Customer: Ulster University
Industry: Research
Vehicle Used: Holland I work class ROV
Voyis Products Used: Insight Pro, Observer & Nova Pro

Summary: This project is part of a multi-year campaign to understand the physical and biological processes affecting the coastal environment and its marine species. This will improve management, conservation, and sustainable development of the marine resource, including engagement with a wide variety of stakeholders.

The Project

The overall scientific aim of this research is to explore laser data, video and stills imagery and physical samples of the sediments at a range of scales for the characterisation of benthic habitats and other associated features of interest in an understudied area of high conservation and natural resource value.

A laser survey provided a higher order of magnitude in data resolution and detail than other traditional survey methods that have been conducted in this area.

This Specialist Marine Research Equipment and Small Infrastructure award (Grant-Aid Agreement No. INF/17/025) is carried out with the support of the Marine Institute and funded under the Marine Research Programme 2014-2020 by the Government of Ireland. This research survey is carried out with the support of the Marine Institute funded under the Marine Research Programme 2014-2020 by the Government of Ireland to support and promote the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (2018-2021). Marine Protected Areas: Monitoring and Management (MarPAMM) is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) – European Funding with match funding from the Government of Ireland, the Northern Ireland Executive and the UK Government Scotland.

Being able to better understand the physical and biological processes operating at the network of sites will enhance management across a range of locations and allow best practice across the range of partners.

Chris McGonigle

Senior Lecturer in Marine Science, Ulster University

The Process


The Holland I work class ROV provided by Ulster University came equipped with a survey-grade positioning system


A frame was fabricated to mount the Insight Pro and change its pitch angle depending on survey needs at the different sites. Surfaces with vertical faces benefit from a forward/downward projection, whereas flat surfaces benefit from a straight downward orientation


The OBSERVER Stills Camera and NOVA light were mounted in the ROV chassis with a sufficient baseline between them to mitigate illumination of turbidity


Dynamic surveys were conducted with Voyis data and Nav data streaming to QPS QINSy for a real-time view of the 3D point cloud generation

Final Results

Used the Insight Pro, Observer stills, and Nova LED panel, to conduct dynamic surveys of large areas. High-resolution laser point clouds provided true-scale geo-located 3D models for a highly detailed digital record of these marine habitats. The results allow the customer to assess the current state of the marine habitat while providing a baseline to compare with future surveys.

Marine Habitat Inspections


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20190428 210530
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Class 3B Laser Product

448nm, <75mW, 1mSec to CW
EN/IEC 60825-1 2014

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