Sediment Profile and Plan View Imaging

Rapidly map broad areas of the seafloor with sediment profile and plan view imaging (SPI/PV). SPI/PV is a cost-effective way to map physical, geochemical, and biological seafloor conditions. The high-resolution SPI/PV camera captures collocated images of the upper sediment column in profile and seabed in plan view.

How It Works

The SPI/PV system (shown below) is lowered to the seafloor. First, the plan view image of the seabed is triggered by a weighted bounce switch, and then when the frame lands, the SPI camera prism sinks into the sediment—collecting a profile image of the bottom. The entire system is then lifted up and can be “pogo-sticked” along the seafloor to quickly collect multiple bottom SPI/PV image sets. The system uses internal batteries for power, so deployment is easy from any vessel of opportunity with a standard winch.

What It Sees

SPI is the only tool that obtains high-resolution images of the top 20 cm of the sediment column without disturbing stratigraphic features or animal–sediment relations. This unique perspective complements all other seafloor mapping techniques (e.g., multibeam echosounder, side-scan sonar, towed video) by obtaining detailed, fine-scale information on surface sediment characteristics. The annotated SPI image (above) shows physical/geochemical features (penetration depth, boundary roughness, grain size, and the redox potential discontinuity [aRPD] depth) and biogenic features (worms, feeding void, and burrow) that can be observed and measured in the images. Plan view images collocated with the SPI images provide a landscape view of the seabed and complement the SPI information. The above image shows physical features (grain size, shell lag deposits, anthropogenic disturbance) and biological features (flounder, urchin, hermit crab, and lebensspuren).

SPI and AI for Automated Image Analysis

Measurement of key features is easy and semi-automated with our integrated image analysis platform, iSPI. Designed and developed by Integral, this advanced software provides a graphical user interface that allows the image analyst to measure and add descriptive comments for key features. Deep learning techniques are incorporated, automating or semi-automating the identification and measurement of key features, such as grain size and biogenic structures.

The iSPI user interface

iSPI automated grain size identification output

SPI/PV Applications

SPI/PV can address your seabed monitoring and mapping needs. Applications include: offshore energy environmental monitoring, ocean disposal and remediation site monitoring, seabed habitat mapping, and remedial investigations. See details below.  

Offshore Energy Environmental Monitoring

Siting, baseline conditions, and long-term monitoring of:
  • Offshore oil and gas fields and pipelines
  • Offshore renewable energy sites and cable routes
  • Anthropogenic deposits (such as drill cuttings)

Ocean Disposal and Remediation Site Monitoring

  • Dredged material disposal sites
  • Dredge residuals
  • Cap material placement/cap integrity/recolonization
  • Fish farms and outfalls

Seabed Habitat Mapping

  • Benthic habitats
  • Ground truthing of acoustic/geophysical surveys

Remedial Investigations

  • Benthic “site walk” for conceptual site model development
  • Site-specific biologically active zones
  • Optimization of traditional sediment sampling designs


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