Jason Virtual Control Van


Today’s scientific underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) generate a tremendous amount of data collected from a variety of sensors in real-time. Often integrated information such as multiple video streams, vehicle telemetry, and scientific data are only available to the users in the ROV control-van during real-time operations. Although all the data is logged, it is extrememly difficult for scientists to re-create this integrated information and have the ability to view and access an entire cruise data set in an integrated fashion.

We introduce a methodology of taking real-time information snapshopts during events that occur within the ROV control-van. We snapshot “interesting” events as defined whenever a scientists enters an event via a computer, and we also take snapshots at regular time intervals such as once a minute to ensure complete data coverage. As part of the Jason ROV upgrade, we have developed the Virtual Van data acquisition system that automatically captures the information in the control-van during ROV operations including up to four simultaneous video sources, vehicle data, scientific instrument data, and event data. These control-van snapshots are automatically cataloged and immediately accessible and search able via a web-browser. The system is designed for both scientific and public outreach needs and has been integrated with the SeaNet system to provide remote on-shore access for scientific collaboration and public outreach. This technology of real-time image and data snapshots along with integrated web-based access has been extremely successful and has been applied to other underwater vehicles such as DSV Alvin, deep-towed camera systems, and an autonomous under vehicle.

During the past two years, the Jason Virtual Van system has been deployed on six cruises and has captured over 50,000 control-van snapshots, containing more than 200,000 images. Each control-van snapshot seamlessly integrates the four simultaneous video snapshots with vehicle data such as navigation, depth, and heading, scientific instrument data from instruments such as a ctd and a magnetometer, and event data as entered by scientists. All this information is accessable via a web-browser in real-time and is also available to the scientists after the cruise for post-cruise data access and analysis.

Shorebased Web Server and Video System

As part of the Jason Virtual Control Van project, a shore-based server and video system has been developed in the Deep Submergence Laboratory at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. After a cruise, the Virtual Control Van data is loaded onto the server and the information is made available to scientists and the public via the Internet. The video system allows us to replay any video data collected during a Jason cruise and provides the tools for real-time video streaming for educational and outreach opportunities.

Jason Virtual Control Van Website

Jason Virtual Control Van

Contacts: Steve Lerner or Andy Maffei
The Jason Virtual Control Van is a real-time logging system that provides functionality similar to the Alvin Frame Grabber. It is also equipped with an event logging system that is used to digitally log comments and observations during operations. The Virtual Van interface can also be accessed, and events can be logged, via a web browser running on the ship's network.