GEBCO-NF Wins the Shell Ocean Discovery XPrize Grand Prize

OFG is extremely proud to have been a part of the GEBCO-NF team. The award was accepted by Dr. Rochelle Wigley on behalf of the entire team at an awards ceremony in Monaco on May 31st. Congratulations to the runner up, Team Kuroshio, and the three other finalists.

Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE Winner Annouced

The following is copied from the: Marine Technology News, May 31, 2019

The GEBCO NF- Alumni Team was announced as the $4 million grand prize winner of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, a three-year global competition that challenged teams to advance deep sea technologies for autonomous and unmanned, fast and high-resolution ocean exploration. 

The team's winning concept includes the use of a unique unmanned surface vessel (USV) / autonomous underwater vessel (AUV) and associated combination of communications hardware and software to process and transmit data remotely. 

The SEA-KIT USV, Maxlimer, built by Hushcraft in the UK, has a unique ability to launch and recover a KONGSBERG HUGIN AUV, and track it accurately on the surface during subsea survey operations. The autonomous navigation and AUV tracking capabilities of the USV are possible through the integration of the KONGSBERG & Hushcraft custom developed automation and software configuration in conjunction with KONGSBERG’s K-MATE common autonomous control engine.

The HUGIN AUV, Chercheur, deployed by the SEA-KIT USV is owned and operated by Ocean Floor Geophysics (OFG). It is one of the best equipped survey and pipeline inspection AUVs in the world, with HISAS interferometric synthetic aperture sonar, multibeam, sub-bottom profiler, OFG Self-Compensating Magnetometer, water chemistry sensors, acoustic modem, and a state-of-the-art positioning system. 

The GEBCO-NF Alumni Team’s data processing solution utilizes Teledyne Caris components and the development work to meet the requirements of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE has been undertaken with assistance from Teledyne CARIS. 

A truly international group, the GEBCO-NF Alumni Team includes 16 alumni of The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Postgraduate Training Program at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), US. They are Dr Evgenia Bazhenova (Russia), Aileen Bohan (Ireland), Dr Mohamed Elsaied (Egypt), Andres Fitzcarrald (Peru), Tomer Ketter (Israel), Christina Lacerda (Brazil), Jaya Roperez (Philippines), Azmi Rosedee (Malaysia), Ivan Ryzhov (Russia), Hadar Sade (Israel), Sattiabaruth Seeboruth (Mauritius), Masano Sumiyoshi (Japan), Neil Tinmouth (South Africa), Dr Rochelle Anne Wigley (US), Dr Yulia Zarayskaya (Russia), and Dr Karolina Zwolak (Poland).

The team’s entry into the competition was funded by The Nippon Foundation, a Japanese private non-profit organisation, and the prize money will be reinvested by foundation into the development of future ocean mapping initiatives.

The team venture was based at the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping / Joint Hydrographic Center (CCOM/JHC) at UNH. The Alumni worked closely with partners including the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Hushcraft Ltd., Ocean Floor Geophysics Inc., Earth Analytic, Teledyne CARIS, Raitt Orr and Associates, ShipOwners, and OmniAccess, as well as equipment supplier Kongsberg Maritime AS, to develop and advance the team concept created especially for the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE.

Dr Rochelle Wigley, Project Coordinator for the team, thanked the XPRIZE judges for recognizing the tireless work and ingenuity of the team members and all others who had contributed to the entry.

“We’re all absolutely overjoyed”, said Dr Wigley, speaking after the announcement was made. “Getting to this point has been a truly international effort. Our diverse nationalities, backgrounds, and specialities have been our greatest asset, and are the reason we made it this far.

“Our team’s success could not have been achieved without the partnership and support of The Nippon Foundation. We are the result of their investment in training a new generation of ocean mappers at the University of New Hampshire for the last fifteen years.

“The Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE challenged us to develop effective, efficient, and better ways of mapping the seafloor. We chose to meet the challenge of XPRIZE by forming a team that transcended borders, on land and at sea. We are privileged to have competed against so many excellent teams, and we have all succeeded in the challenge. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for us and for our technology, all of which can only further the ambition of The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project to map the entirety of the world’s oceans.”

Dr Yulia Zarayskaya said she believed that “the most important and unique aspect of our solution is the approach that we took. It brought together engineers, scientists, developers, business, authorities and many others. Although sometimes it was a challenge to find a common language, I think our achievements show how effective this approach can be.”

The GEBCO-NF Alumni Team entered the competition in July 2016, successfully making it through to the semi-final stage and qualifying for the final round, which saw them travel to Kalamata, Greece, to compete against the other finalists in a 24-hour ocean mapping challenge. This involved producing a 5m horizontal resolution bathymetric map, as well as high-definition images of biological, archaeological, or geological features of the ocean environment, which are critical to understanding the oceans and will help inspire the next generation of educators, students, policymakers, and investors to care about ocean discovery, resource development, and protection.

The team mapped 278 km2 and produced ten high-resolution images which were selected using the Kongsberg REFLECTION software package from standard HISAS imagery. Additionally, eight 3D surfaces of the seafloor were produced using Fledermaus software. Kongsberg EM304 multibeam data was uploaded online and team members at UNH cleaned and produced nine point cloud images using Qimera.

The team’s SEA-KIT vessel USV Maxlimer was named after UNH Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Postgraduate Training Program alumna Maxlimer Anziani Vallee, who passed away following a car accident in January 2017. Since being used in the team’s XPRIZE entry, the vessel has completed the world’s first international commercial uncrewed transit, successfully traversing the world’s busiest shipping lane to deliver a box of oysters from the UK to Belgium on May 7, 2019.

Offshore Technology Conference 2019 Houston - AUV Integrated Cathodic Protection (iCP) Inspection System-Results From a North Sea Survey

OFG will be presenting AUV Integrated Cathodic Protection (iCP) Inspection System-Results From a North Sea Survey on May 6th at 10:36, room 604, during the OTC 2019 session Robotic Technology Enabling Future Offshore Operations . Come discuss AUV pipeline inspection efficiencies leveraged by the OFG iCP system. Our integrated work flows and software allow for the rapid detection and quantification of anomalies as part of the standard offshore processing product. The experience of our partner, cathodic protection (CP) specialists ISES Technical Services, ensures that the CP data analysis and reporting is suited to the needs of our clients for their asset integrity and inspection programs.

If you aren't able to attend the presentation come find us at booth 1015 in the Canada Pavillion.

non contact AUV integrated Cathodic Protection (iCP) system - integrated pipeline model.JPG

DOF Subsea and Ocean Floor Geophysics Inc. complete geophysical area survey with AUV and small catamaran concept for Statens Vegvesen

March 12th, 2019

In September 2018 DOF Subsea Norway AS (DOF) was awarded the contract for Statens Vegvesen (SVV) to perform geophysical mapping of a 5km2 area in Bjørnafjord in Norway. The project was executed using the HUGIN AUV “Chercheur” owned and operated by Canadian company Ocean Floor Geophysics Inc. (OFG) in combination with the small survey catamaran “GeoCat” owned by DOF Subsea Norway AS.

Figure 1 Survey Area in Bjørnafjord mapped with AUV and small vessel

Figure 1 Survey Area in Bjørnafjord mapped with AUV and small vessel

The aim of the work was to obtain the necessary basis for engineering design services for a bridge over Bjørnafjord in connection with the “Ferry Free E39” project. The assignment included complementary high-quality geophysical surveys, (bathymetry, shallow seismic, and side-scan sonar) in order to provide SVV with detailed high-resolution geophysical data in an area approximately 5.5km long by 800m wide.

The project was planned as a low logistics shore-based launch of an AUV, supported by the small vessel equipped with a system to provide positional updates to the subsea vehicle, eliminating the requirement for traditional ROV and an offshore sized vessel, but still providing the high data quality associated with the survey systems of the Hugin class of AUVs. 

The AUV containers were set up at a suitable quayside location, where a storage area and processing office were also established and project personnel were accommodated in a hotel nearby. 

Working only during daylight hours, the data was collected in less than a week. In addition, detailed acoustic surveys were carried out at a selection of possible anchor locations to discover any objects with a diameter of 0.5m or more that could possibly obstruct the placement of anchors.  And, when the AUV was not permitted to navigate between the anchors of an existing fish farm located in the survey area, Geocat’s hull mounted seismic equipment and multibeam echosounder were used.

Figure 2 Quay-launch of AUV

Figure 2 Quay-launch of AUV

Figure 3 AUV secured port stern and guided out to work area, where it was released to collect data close to the seabed

Figure 3 AUV secured port stern and guided out to work area, where it was released to collect data close to the seabed

In all, 180km of data was collected safely and efficiently with a state-of-the-art AUV survey suite including multibeam bathymetry (MBES), sub-bottom profiler (SBP), sidescan (SSS) and synthetic aperture sonar (HISAS). The advanced terrain following algorithms of OFG AUV Chercheur allowed for excellent data quality even in the very rough, undulating and rocky terrain varying from 40m to 560m water depth, with slopes exceeding 60 degrees. Seismic data is particularly of great importance to the customer when it comes to bridge engineering and DOF received highly positive feedback from SVV on the high quality of the data provided.

Figure 4 Shallow seismic vertical profile, showing sediment deposits on top of bedrock.

Figure 4 Shallow seismic vertical profile, showing sediment deposits on top of bedrock.

Figure 5 HISAS image of 15 metre long wreck resting on exposed bedrock.

Figure 5 HISAS image of 15 metre long wreck resting on exposed bedrock.

Commenting on DOF Subsea’s survey method and performance Tore Thomassen, responsible for seabed conditions on The Fjord Crossing Project, Ferry Free E39, said,  “In connection with the geophysical investigations needed for Bjørnafjord, Statens Vegvesen Region Vest, chose to go with an unknown and previously untested method for this type of topographically very challenging terrain. In competition with more traditional geophysical and tested methods we chose to use an AUV as it was offered by DOF Subsea Norway AS in cooperation with Ocean Floor Geophysics Inc. The survey was executed effectively and within shorter duration than promised. The data set displays good quality and is well within the requests for the specifications of the project.

Statens Vegvesen Region Vest is very satisfied with the cooperation and the execution of this particular project and view the use of AUV as a future tool for marine seabed investigations.”

Matthew Kowalczyk, CEO OFG, added, “This is the second shore-based AUV project executed using DOF Subsea’s GeoCat and the OFG AUV Chercheur, the first being a subsea pipeline inspection in the North Sea in March 2018. The successful completion of this low logistics survey further validates the approach that OFG and our partners have taken to developing systems tailored to our customer’s needs.  SVV chose a solution that demonstrates their commitment to deploying state-of-the-art systems but with a keen eye to the costs savings.”

In conclusion, DOF EVP Jan-Kristian Haukeland, said, “We are excited about the successful completion of this project. It demonstrates the capability of DOF Subsea, in collaboration with our partners, to rapidly develop new systems and technology, deploy them in a cost effective and timely manner, while continuing to exceed the quality and safety standards our clients expect.”

 For further information please contact:

Matthew Kowalczyk, CEO, Ocean Floor Geophysics Inc

 Jens Ditlev, Survey Manager, DOF Subsea Norway AS


Nodule Collector "Patania II" Expedition

Ocean Floor Geophysics Inc. (OFG) has been awarded a contract by DEME Group for offshore equipment and personnel to support their project in the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone ("CCZF") of the Pacific Ocean in early 2019.

In 2019 the nodule collector will embark on its first expedition in the GSR and BGR (German) exploration areas, involving a test area of 0.1 km2. Back in 2013, the International Seabed Authority granted GSR a 15-year concession to explore 76,728 km2 of seabed in the eastern part of the Clarion Clipperton Zone in the Central Pacific Ocean.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has found new deep sea mineral deposits


11.09.2018 The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate just concluded a successful three-week data acquisition expedition on the Mohn’s ridge in the western part of the Norwegian Sea.

The Mohn’s ridge is a seafloor spreading ridge, separating two oceanic plates, and the objective of the expedition was to investigate the possible existence of mineral resource deposits in this area. The NPD has identified a large area of sulphide minerals, that was previously unknown. The deposits could include important industrial metals such as copper, zinc, cobalt, nickel, vanadium, wolfram and silver.

The NPD has been assigned the task of proving and mapping deep sea minerals after the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy was given administrative responsibility for mineral deposits on the Norwegian continental shelf.

During this year’s expedition, the NPD surveyed an area of 90 km x 35 km centrally located over the spreading ridge, where water depths vary between 1200 and 3500 metres. The expedition was conducted with the Seabed Worker vessel, which is owned by Swire Seabed AS.

NPD geologist Jan Stenløkk participated in the voyage. He tells us that the mapping was carried out using an autonomous underwater vehicle, Kongsberg Hugin AUV, which mapped the seabed in long corridors, totalling 750 kilometres. The AUV was equipped with several sensors, including seabed penetrating echo sounders. Other types of data collected include multibeam bathymetry, synthetic aperture sonar data, magnetometry and spontaneous potential field data. The AUV was operated by Ocean Floor Geophysics.

Synthetic aperture sonar data over areas with active and inactive smokers  (exaggerated vertical scale)

Synthetic aperture sonar data over areas with active and inactive smokers
(exaggerated vertical scale)

“Areas where these data indicated possible mineral deposits were examined using a remote operated vehicle, also known as an ROV, and large volumes of photo and video material were acquired. A number of mineral samples were also collected,” says Stenløkk.

The seawater penetrates deep into the seabed, is heated to more than 400 degrees by underlying magma chambers, and dissolves many minerals. The warm seawater is flushed back out to the seabed through so-called “black smokers” where the minerals are precipitated in contact with the cold seawater. When the magma chambers shift due to the spreading between the plates, the flushing of the warm water stops, and the black smokers collapse and ultimately end up as piles of gravel on the seabed.

The new area of sulphide minerals that was discovered contains many such piles of gravel and collapsed black smokers, including a 26-metre high, non-active tower, in addition to some active systems. The mineral samples taken from these piles of gravel will now undergo several analyses. All mapping data from the AUV sensors will also be processed and interpreted.

Exploration director Torgeir Stordal in the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate says that the authorities are very satisfied with the result of this year’s expedition, which is the first mineral expedition operated by the NPD. “It is gratifying that we have found a completely new deposit. We have also tested a number of measurement and mapping techniques that will be useful in future data acquisition expeditions.”

Mapping area (red square) in the central part of the Mohn ridge in the Norwegian Sea. The map also shows potential areas for seabed minerals such as sulphides and crusts.

Mapping area (red square) in the central part of the Mohn ridge in the Norwegian Sea. The map also shows potential areas for seabed minerals such as sulphides and crusts.

Collapsed non-active smokers  (screen shot from operations room)

Collapsed non-active smokers
(screen shot from operations room)

Sulphide minerals as large fragments and gravel piles  (screen shot)

Sulphide minerals as large fragments and gravel piles
(screen shot)

Florida Atlantic University adds SCM to their REMUS 100


An OFG Self-Compensating Magnetometer (SCM) system was implemented on a REMUS 100 AUV at Florida Atlantic University and used to conduct field tests for the localisation of subsurface magnetic anomalies, in support of a project in adaptive sensing using multiple AUVs. The work is funded by NSWC-Panama City under the Naval Engineering Education Consortium program. The implementation was carried out by MS ocean engineering student Harryel Philippeaux, under the direction of the project director, Professor Manhar Dhanak. The SCM was mounted on the top of the vehicle (see photo) and ancillary components, including a compass and a PC-104 processing computer, were housed in a custom pressure vessel that served as a payload extension of the AUV.  The payload computer hosted the SCM software, a custom localisation algorithm, and a Windows console application that served as ‘middleware’. Preliminary testing in a lake appears to show that the AUV/SCM system is a suitable choice for detection of magnetic anomalies from a mobile platform.

Norwegian Petroleum Directorate maps deep sea mineral deposits

Source: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (

09.08.2018  After the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy assumed administrative responsibility for mineral deposits on the continental shelf, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) has been assigned the task of mapping potential deposits.

The NPD is now starting an extensive data acquisition expedition in the deeper areas of the continental shelf in western parts of the Norwegian Sea.

The NPD has engaged Swire Seabed AS, who partners with Ocean Floor Geophysics Inc, to carry out mapping of potential sulphide minerals on the seabed over the Mohns Ridge. This is a spreading ridge in the Atlantic Ocean that separates two oceanic plates, where potential valuable minerals have been formed through hot volcanic sources. The focus of the expedition is not the active hydraulic systems such as “black smokers”, but rather non-active extinct systems that are now left as mineral-rich piles of gravel on the seabed.

The mapping will be carried out using an autonomous underwater vehicle, a Kongsberg Hugin AUV, which maps the seabed using a number of instruments: bottom-penetrating echo sounder, multibeam bathymetry, synthetic aperture sonar data, magnetometry and spontaneous potential field data.

After the data is processed on board, mineral samples will be taken from the seabed where the data indicates the presence of deposits. Sampling will be carried out using an underwater ROV (remotely operated vehicle). This will be lowered down to the seabed, which could be as deep as 3000 metres, and will pick up test material of the minerals.

The expedition will be underway throughout August and into September.

Mohns Ridge - NPD seafloor minerals exploration 2018

The area where the mapping will take place is indicated by a yellow square on the map, which also shows the spreading ridge.

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) takes delivery of two OFG Self-Compensating Magnetometer (SCM) Systems

Improvement to DRDC AUV capabilities facilitated through Built-in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP)

Ocean Floor Geophysics In. (OFG) is pleased to announce the award of a contract for delivery and installation of two OFG Self-Compensating Magnetometer (SCM) systems to the Department of National Defence’s (DND) science and technology organization, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), under the Built in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP).

The systems, which are supplied with a specialised Subsea Processing Unit (SPU), will be installed on a shallow-water IVER Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and a 5000m depth-rated ISE Explorer AUV, greatly enhancing the capabilities of the vehicles.

Matthew Kowalczyk, CEO of OFG, commented on the new contract. “This will be the first installation of our integrated SCM+SPU system and we are extremely pleased that we have the opportunity to field it here in Canada with DRDC through the support of BCIP.”

The SCM system works by running a simple AUV calibration routine at the beginning of the mission and using it to compute a suite of coefficients that can correct the data in real-time. The software then outputs the raw magnetic vectors and total field as well as the compensated magnetic vectors and total field. The installation of the SCM inside the AUV, or strapped to the hull simplifies AUV operations in many cases when compared to other AUV magnetometer solutions that require towed bodies, long poles in front of the vehicle or de-gaussed hulls. Applications for the SCM cover a wide variety of AUV missions ranging from geological mapping, mine-countermeasures, and vessel signatures, to unexploded ordnance (UXO), and marine archaeology.

OFG Self-Compensating Magnetometer (SCM) added to Teledyne Gavia sensor suite

Teledyne Gavia, manufacturer of the Gavia autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), has completed trials of the AUV Self-Compensating Magnetometer from Ocean Floor Geophysics (OFG).

Figure 1: Map of raw Total Magnetic Intensity (TMI) acquired with SCM installed on the hull of Teledyne Gavia vehicle

Following successful integration and field trials in Iceland of the OFG Self-Compensating Magnetometer (SCM) on the Teledyne Gavia AUV the sensor system is now being offered as part of the ever expanding suite of tools available to Gavia users.

Figure 2: Map of residual compensated Total Magnetic Intensity (TMI) of the same area as previous figure with OFG SCM compensation algorithm applied.

CEO of OFG, Matthew Kowalczyk elaborated on the principal advantage of the SCM system: “There are many magnetometer technologies available on the market. The requirement that drove the development of the SCM system was to remove the need to tow a magnetometer, which is problematic in many AUV operations. The SCM can be integrated inside the body of the AUV or simply strapped to the hull of the AUV and compensates for the magnetic signature and motor currents of the AUV. This results in a system that does not have to be mounted on a pole, does not have to be towed behind the AUV or put into a de-gaussed hull section. Not only does this simplify integration into new vehicles, but opens up opportunities for simple retrofits for existing AUVs regardless of the sensor/battery/hull configurations that they have.  You can even change the vehicle configuration and magnetic signature between missions, e.g. adding or removing sensors, and the SCM will still work as the compensation coefficients are calculated at the beginning of each mission.” 

Equipping the Gavia with the OFG SCM system for AUVs enables the collection of real-time compensated data that removes the magnetic signature of the AUV ensuring that the ambient field is being measured rather than the AUV itself. Combining the compensated three-vector magnetic data of the SCM with other sensors such as side scan imagery, bathymetric survey data, sub-bottom profiler data, and water chemistry sensors further increases the value of AUV data. The OFG SCM systems for AUVs are being used around world on various applications ranging from geological mapping, mine-countermeasures, and vessel signatures, to unexploded ordnance (UXO), and marine archaeology.

Teledyne Marine strives to provide our customers with a variety of technical solutions to meet their operational requirements. The integration and testing of the OFG Magnetometer has yielded good results and will be a valuable option for current and future Teledyne Gavia and SeaRaptor AUV users.” Arnar Steingrimsson, Director Strategic Business Development AUVs, Teledyne Marine

Contact: Matthew Kowalczyk, Eng., CEO


Contact: Kolbrun Arnadottir, Inside Sales Manager


Another Major Gas Hydrate CSEM Mapping Campaign Completed in Japan


Ocean Floor Geophysics Inc. (OFG), in cooperation with Fukada Salvage and Marine Works Co. Ltd. (Fukada), has completed a third high resolution Controlled Source Electromagnetic (CSEM) survey of near surface gas hydrates using the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Scripps) Vulcan system for the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japanese waters.

Following the successful CSEM surveys and 3D inversion models completed in 2014 and 2015, the 2017 survey comprised over 413 line kilometers of high resolution data collected in depths up to 1640 m from the Fukada vessel Shin Nichi Maru. A 3D inversion of the EM data for the entire 2017 survey area has also been completed and delivered to the client.

The Vulcan system is a highly flexible CSEM system capable of a depth of investigation of up to 1 km.  This depth of investigation can be increased to a depth of several kilometers with the addition of seafloor receivers.  The data processing and inversion workflow uses mature and well tested computer codes developed at Scripps, and at the University of British Columbia.

OFG is a world leader in the commercial deployment of deep-water marine electromagnetic systems.  OFG in cooperation with Fukada can also now deploy an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) based CSEM system that is a complement to the towed Vulcan system for the mapping of gas hydrate deposits and Submarine Massive Sulfide (SMS) deposits. Together, the towed source Vulcan system and the seafloor transmitter based AUV CSEM system provide a tested sea-ready capability to map seafloor resistivities in multiple exploration scenarios.

Press Release: OFG supports successful project combining AUV and USV mothership to survey the ocean’s depths

OFG AUV   Chercheur   launching from AUV bay of mothership USV   Maxlimer   (Photo: Lew Abramson)

OFG AUV Chercheur launching from AUV bay of mothership USV Maxlimer (Photo: Lew Abramson)

Ocean Floor Geophysics Inc. (OFG) works with the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE GEBCO-NF Alumni Team to advance the state of the art in autonomous seafloor survey through operations support, expertise, and OFG’s HUGIN Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Chercheur.

Burnaby, BC, Canada – January 25, 2018

The GEBCO-NF Alumni Team has completed the Technology Readiness Tests of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE using a combined Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) system.  The goal of the XPRIZE challenge is to advance ocean technologies for rapid, unmanned and high-resolution ocean exploration and discovery.

This is a world first using the Hugin AUV and a USV mothership for launch, synchronized autonomous AUV survey operations, and recovery of the AUV back in to the USV. The project demonstrated that combined AUV and USV systems are a viable option for future offshore survey and inspection projects. 

The Team chose to work together with OFG to integrate the HUGIN AUV Chercheur, in to the system. Chercheur is an industry-leading survey and pipeline inspection AUV equipped with a multibeam, camera, sub-bottom profiler, OFG Self Compensating Magnetometer (SCM), water chemistry sensors, and the HISAS 1032, a deep-water interferometric synthetic aperture sonar, that was used to collect bathymetric and imagery data for this project.

The USV SEA-KIT Maxlimer was designed by Hushcraft Ltd to act as a surface support vessel for the AUV, including the capacity to launch and recover the AUV and to provide subsea communications and positioning. SEA-KIT is a rugged, impact-safe and self-righting USV that can carry a deployable and retrievable payload of up to 2.5 tons. It has passive motion damping, a stable single-compartment flooding system and a self-deploying and stowing sea anchor to ease and ensure safe operations. The autonomous capabilities of the USV were provided by the K-Mate controller developed by Kongsberg Maritime and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI).

In addition to the development of the AUV and USV systems used for data acquisition, the Team developed a complete data processing workflow using Teledyne CARIS and ESRI software allowing all the data products to be delivered within 24 hours. The workflow developed was highly automated from data download to delivery of a complete ArcGIS database of the entire survey area, including HiSAS imagery at 4 cm resolution, multibeam bathymetry, interferometric bathymetry and areas of interest reprocessed HiSAS imagery at 2 cm resolution. 

Autonomous AUV seafloor survey, with an AUV launch and recovery (human-in-the-loop), with the USV autonomously tracking the AUV for a complete survey mission while being monitored from a remote shore station, were demonstrated to be a viable option for future offshore survey and inspection projects.  The technology, processes and procedures developed for this project are a big step towards larger scale implementation of these concepts.


[Full version of the video can be viewed at OFG supports successful project combining AUV and USV mothership - Full Version


To learn more about OFG’s AUV capabilities, or to discuss other marine electromagnetic (EM), magnetic and seafloor mineral exploration services, contact Matthew Kowalczyk at +1-778-654-7781 or by email at or visit the website at

Ocean Floor Geophysics Inc. (OFG) is a marine geophysics company that provides data acquisition and analysis services that were previously unavailable by combining specialised expertise in subsea operations, sensor design and sensor integration with geophysical technologies beyond the scope of traditional marine geophysical surveys. These include the OFG AUV integrated Cathodic Protection (iCP) system, marine magnetics, EM, and CSEM/MT, deployed by ROV, AUV and deep tow systems. OFG is an advanced user of powerful 2D and 3D EM and magnetic forward modelling and inversion software. This range of technologies and experience allows OFG to support clients from survey design through to data integration and analysis. OFG will provide you with a new perspective on survey and inspection and deliver the data you need to make informed decisions for your projects. 

Unlocking the power of AUVs and USVs to map the world's oceans: Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE

Photo: Alex DeCiccio

Photo: Alex DeCiccio

The Ocean Floor Geophysics (OFG) AUV team is proud to be part of a world first with the GEBCO-NF Alumni Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE team: autonomous seafloor survey with our world class Hugin survey and pipeline inspection AUV "Chercheur". AUV Chercheur was launched from the Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) Sea-Kit, performed a high resolution seafloor survey with USBL positioning and communications to the USV, and was recovered by the USV.  This accomplishment by the GEBCO-NF Alumni team represents a huge stride forward autonomous mapping of the ocean's depths, supported by experts, resources, and equipment from the Nippon Foundation, GEBCO-NF Alumni, Ocean Floor Geophysics, Hushcraft, Kongsberg Maritime, and Teledyne Caris.

Resource Links:

Seafloor Mapping Technologies for Deep Sea Mining - Asia Pacific Deep Sea Mining, Singapore, Nov. 21-22

OFG has been actively involved in seafloor minerals exploration since the formation of the company to support SMS exploration with our patented electromagnetic OFG EM Mk III system. Continuous involvement in seafloor minerals projects all around the world, with a particular focus on SMS deposits, has resulted in the application and development of a wide range of mapping technologies by OFG and our partners. The Asia Pacific Deep Sea Mining Summit in Singapore on November 21 and 22 offers a perfect venue to share some of these advances in mapping techniques ranging from 3D vertical cable seismic to magnetics to a new AUV electromagnetic system. The CEO of OFG, Matthew Kowalczyk, Eng., will be presenting on day 2 of the conference during the Seafloor Mapping Technologies for Deep Sea Mining session.  

OFG at the MTS Puget Sound Section Technology Summit

November 6th, 2017 - Marine Technology Summit, University of Washington South Campus Center

OFG will be presenting the latest AUV electromagnetic system for the efficient mapping of seafloor minerals exploration. The economic and operational advantages of the AUV-borne controlled source electromagnetic (CSEM) system that has been developed and deployed over the last two years will be discussed. Results of the initial tests and development work along with the 3D earth model created from AUV data acquired during the AUV CSEM mapping campaign will also be presented.

OFG to present advances in AUV electromagnetic sensors for seafloor mineral exploration at UMC in Berlin

OFG CEO Matthew Kowalczyk, will be presenting: Controlled source electromagnetic mapping of massive sulfide deposits with an AUV

OFG in collaboration with Fukada Salvage and Marine Co. Ltd. and the Scripps EM Laboratory has developed and demonstrated an AUV Controlled Source Electromagnetic (AUV-CSEM) system for the mapping of seafloor massive sulfides.  The system can equally be deployed in the mapping of resistive subsurface bodies such as gas hydrates.  The economic and operational advantages that the AUV CSEM system presents through the concurrent acquisition of magnetic, CSEM, water chemistry, SBP, SSS and MBES data from a single AUV in a single pass are clear.  Results of the initial tests and development work along with the 3D earth model created from AUV data acquired during the  AUV CSEM mapping campaign following the test program will be presented 

Looking forward to seeing you there. UMC Sept 24 – 29, Berlin, Germany.

Dr. Karen Weitemeyer joins the OFG geophysics team - further strengthens electromagnetic expertise in the group


Dr. Karen Weitemeyer is an internationally recognized expert in marine electromagnetic (EM) methods applied to mapping marine gas hydrate deposits.  She has over 10 years world-wide experience in the collection, processing, and modelling of marine EM data.  She most recently obtained her Professional Geoscientist designation while working for Advisian, WorleyParsons in Calgary, Alberta on a variety of land-based near surface geophysics projects such as contaminate transport and bedrock mapping, reviewing UXO remediation documents, and cross well ERT modelling.  Prior to this Karen held a Lectureship in Marine Electromagnetics at the University of Southampton and is currently a visiting researcher.  Karen has written and co-authored several scientific papers on marine EM methods applied to mapping gas hydrates. Karen received her PhD in 2008 from the University of California, San Diego while studying at the Marine EM Lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  Karen obtained her BSc (Hon) Geophysics in 2003 from the University of British Columbia and is pleased to be returning to British Columbia.