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Interpreting deep-sea images with artificial intelligence

By Tim Sandle     Sep 14, 2018 in Science
An in-depth insight into the mysteries of the oceans has been gained from an analysis of deep-sea images undertaken using artificial intelligence. The study comes from the GEOMAR research team.
Through the new application of AI, the GEOMAR (Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel ) research team have developed new workflow for image analysis. This technique will help oceanographers, as more voluminous data and images are produced during ocean research. The challenge for researchers is how to systematically evaluate the great quantities of image data. The solution is with automated procedures and artificial intelligence analysis to decipher marine images.
As to how the workflow operates, Dr. Timm Schoening explains: "Over the past three years, we have developed a standardized workflow that makes it possible to scientifically evaluate large amounts of image data systematically and sustainably."
He adds: "All this information has to be linked to the respective image because it provides important information for subsequent evaluation." For example, a recent deep sea robot called ABYSS collected over 500,000 images of the seafloor in around 30 dives. This creates a large amount of data for researchers to shift through. The artificial intelligence can take an array of separate images and combine them to form larger maps of the seafloor.
The artificial intelligence also helped with data capture, which was via three steps, which were: data acquisition, data curation and data management. The system specified how the camera was set up, which data to be captured, and lighting levels in order to be able to answer a certain scientific question.
The new application has been described in the journal Scientific Data, with the research paper titled "An acquisition, curation and management workflow for sustainable, terabyte-scale marine image analysis." The image data was drawn from research published in Pangaea, titled "Seafloor images and raw context data along AUV tracks during SONNE cruises SO239 and SO242/1."
More about Artificial intelligence, Oceans, deepsea
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