Test Structure From Motion Underwater

June 18 2015
Structure from motion is a method of creating a 3D model by combining multiple still images. Our goal is to learn how to apply this technology to make underwater maps. This technology is already being used extensively with aerial drones. Because much of the ocean is not thoroughly mapped, structure from motion has the potential to change the way we view the ocean. Read background

June 18 2015


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Mission Underway

On Tuesday July 14th, we took an ROV to a sunken sailboat in Lake Tahoe. I made multiple transects over the boat, and a GoPro mounted downwards took photos twice a second. The photos produced a rough 3D model, but a second trip will probably be required to fill in the gaps. Here is one of the approximately 10,000 photos taken by the GoPro during the dive.


10,000 photos in two transects?? Whoa.

This is awesome!

Great to see you progressing with SfM, hope you learned a few lessons at a guess 10,000 images may be a few too many interest to hear how long it took to process that many

Preparation Stage

We got to lake Merritt, walked up to the shore and deployed. 2080 Immediately found a California Sea Hare (Sea Slug). We got some great footage with the GoPro and Vincent held depth while I got lunch....


Hi Thomas
Have you considered using the GoPro in the time lapse mode rather than video footage

Even HD footage is only 1920 by 1080 (basically 2MP) whist the Hero for time lapse collects data at a frame every 0.5 seconds (at either 5MP for the Hero or 16MP for the Hero 4 Black)

I have had great results from time lapse stills http://bit.ly/1Fm2ElX but never managed to get anything decent from frames taken from video

Either way wishing you success


@NSWwrecks What a great tip! We will have to experiment with the time lapse option next time. Thanks also for attaching the structure from motion guide - very useful!