January 11, 2016 / ROV

Anyone familiar with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) likely knows of its history of monitoring underwater environments. According to a press release from this organization, the institute started using an ROV to film the bay area more than 25 years ago. It also developed VARS, the Video Annotation and Reference System that allowed the organization to combine textual data culled by ROVs with appropriate footage.

MBARI is opening up its data stores for public use.

Now, it is opening up its data stores for public use, as anyone interested in doing so can access the online Deep Sea Guide. With this tool, users can search the registry for varieties of creatures, even if they start with very basic terms. Searching the word "squid," for example, brings up 15 different results, factoring in family, order, genus and species.

In the release, Nancy Jacobsen Stout, the MBARI's Video Laboratory Supervisor, put the Guide in context with the rest of the institute's work.

"This latest installment in our suite of tools was built by our video annotation team over the course of about 20 years with tremendous amounts of labor and love! It represents the collective efforts and evolving knowledge of a diverse group of MBARI scientists, research technicians, and engineers," she said. The statement also references the more than 24,000 hours of video MBARI has obtained over the decades.

ROV operators may feel better suited to their work if they purchase insurance from qualified providers. Both the ROV units themselves and the additional equipment they use, such as cameras, may need to be updated over time, along with the coverage assigned to them.

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