Mapping the Ocean Floor

March 2019

Satellite technology has allowed us to map the Earth’s surface and parts of the heavens, but 95 percent of the ocean floor is yet to be mapped.

But now the Bremen-based startup PlanBlue has developed a solution that could change this, thereby improving conservation and business activities related to the ocean floor (e.g., collecting plastic waste or installing offshore wind farms). The technology involves a specialized underwater camera that uses hyperspectral imaging to scan the ocean floor in high resolution.

But the real innovation is the intelligent software that PlanBlue has developed, which allows seabed scanning to be accomplished more quickly, more precisely and less expensively than previous methods.

In December, the company was awarded the “Overall Space Oscar” in Marseille at the pan-European space competition Galileo Masters 2018 (formerly known as the European Satellite Navigation Competition), which recognizes innovations related to satellite navigation. The overall prize (a combination of four smaller prizes) comes with a EUR 100,000 purse as well as an opportunity to participate in a business incubator that will assist the company in commercializing its technology.

Ocean floor © Pixabay