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Some of ReefQuest's schools have taken up the project of working with Remotely Operated Vehicles to support imaging activities such as the Virtual Reef. We are not yet aware of any actual Virtual Reefs transects built that way, and we are currently working with those schools to understand their protocols and help them fine tune imaging. Now for a big piece of news: here at ReefQuest in California we have begun building our own ROV, based on an award winning design and kid developed by a high school in Phoneix, AZ. You can read more about their kit at http://www.nventivity.com/roviab.html.  So what are we hoping to achieve with an ROV? Well for one, most of our Jr. Open Water Divers are limited to 65' of depth. The ROV under construction will allow us to take cameras to 100' and above. Called the ADDIE, (Advanced Deep Dive Imaging Explorer), our first ROV scheduled for sea trials in the fall will start imaging kelp forests in Santa Monica Bay and Catalina Island, Ca. Stay tuned for virtual reefs of those locations, which will also represent our first non-coral habitats. We will be blogging more about this as our project unfolds, as we have been documenting the construction for anyone else to follow. At the end the ADDIE will be equipped with a real time navigation camera, connected to a control panel that will be on board Wayfinder, ReefQuest's support boat, and will feed an iPAD display, LED lights, and a Virtual Reef imaging camera that will image both video at 1080p HD and panoramic 3D pictures for Virtual Reef Creation. Stay tuned for more. 

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Comment by Maurizio Vecchione on July 11, 2012 at 5:27pm

I was just told by our friend Tara Brown about an interesting group building open source ROVs for citizen science projects, http://openrov.com/ 

We will reach out to them and let you know more about their program, as it looks very interesting!

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