Video acquisition, archiving, annotation and analysis: NEPTUNE Canada's real-time georeferenced library of deep sea video
Precise positioning of scientific instruments on an undersea cabled observatory is crucial for successful data collection. The majority of researchers for NEPTUNE Canada's 800km cabled ocean observatory are geographically diverse, and it is both expensive and time-consuming to be physically present during instrument deployment. We have developed an economical, scalable web application that allows researchers to interact, collaborate and review video collected during live ROV operations. For over 20 years ocean research vessels have been equipped with satellite uplink capability, allowing researchers on land to participate in observing live dive operations and ocean phenomena. Perhaps the most famous example is the JASON project, a collaboration started in 1989 between Robert Ballard, WHOI and National Geographic Society. There are significant costs associated to host the uplink and downlink, however, and researchers may not be able to easily communicate with the chief scientist on board the ship and with each other. Worse, the video footage may be archived with very little metadata, mission time or easy means of cataloguing and retrieval. These problems were addressed in a uniquely collaborative venture between NEPTUNE Canada, the Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility (CFFS) and Canada's Advanced Research & Innovation Network (CANARIE). In this paper we report on the development of software and infrastructure enabling live video observation, online annotation and archiving of instrument positioning on the NEPTUNE Canada ocean observatory. The paper will detail the software design, infrastructure and quality assurance processes used to deploy this innovative, cost effective solution which successfully addresses the needs of the ocean science and engineering communities.