Investigating submerged morphologies by means of the low-budget “GeoDive” method (high resolution for detailed 3D reconstruction and related measurements)

Giovanni Gaglianone, Jacopo Crognale, Carlo Esposito


Geophysical methods allow to collect geological data on lakes and seas bottoms and characterize large areas, even at high depths, but with high costs. Moreover, the most widespread acquisition methods for morpho-bathymetric survey and the related instruments used are almost always ship-, ROV- or AUV-based and consequently they require high budgets.

It is known that shallow waters can represent a limit for certain vessels and techniques, preventing the acquisition in the nearshore zone. To overcome the limits, i.e. to survey with high accuracy nearshore shallow waters with a low budget, we tested and tuned the “GeoDive” method that allowed us to survey two test sites, featured by the presence of “block fields” (i.e., accumulations of huge blocks and boulders of gravitational origin) under shallow waters.

The “GeoDive” method allowed us to map the submerged morphologies and to acquire high-resolution optical images for further photogrammetric processing. The latter was fundamental to obtain 3D high-resolution models, also with conditions of low visibility. An Action Sport Cam with high definition resolution has been used for video acquisition, in addition to the equipment used during scientific diving.

By coupling the processing of underwater-acquired data with the direct surveys performed by underwater SCUBA operators, it was possible to perform some morphological and sedimentological measurements and observations on the experimental targets, with the help of suitable markers.

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