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Custom Builds

We take a systems analysis approach to your problem. We pride ourselves on using an interdisciplinary tack to creatively design a solution by first clarifying precisely the measurements required, available proxies, operational constraints, and research into high and low-tech solutions before we present a build option and costs. Here are some of our custom builds.


Coastal Benthic Imaging SystemTriops

Our Triops unit is a small, inexpensive, high-resolution solution to shallow coastal habitat mapping and has been a workhorse in the Otago region.  In a recent deployment in Otago Harbour (New Zealand), over 700 photos were captured in a 2.5 day period at over 130 sites along 13 km of harbour in turbid waters 4-20 m deep.  Rigorous analytical procedures were used to inform the most extensive habitat mapping and macrofaunal community analysis ever conducted in the harbour.  Reduced-resolution sample images are available below. 


The system uses a digital camera mounted in a stainless steel frame with mission-specific variable-weight runners (drop, skid, etc.). The camera is connected to a shipboard computer via 50 m tether. One or two shipboard line handlers can watch the oblique deployment view on either of two live video images. This ensures that the camera is landed appropriately. A computer operator watches a live colour video (low resolution) image of the plan view to trigger the photo on demand. Two lights are mounted obliquely to ensure good light distribution with a minimum of marine snow illumination or provide anaglyphic imagery. The entire system can be run off internal battery or can be connected to a vessel's 12 VDC system. Our modular arrangement and forward-thinking specifications allow cameras, lights, and tethers to be swapped according to project needs.

Otago Harbour Habitat MapHundreds of images like those above are examined according to objective and heuristic protocols in order to produce GIS thematic representations of benthic characteristics. Interpolation is objectively tested. This example map was created from c. 900 images collected in only four field days.



Our university client wanted to use existing HD cameras and lenses for stereoscopic (3D) imaging in waters to 75 m.  Given the field protocols it was not practical for the equipment to be

stereoscopic underwater imaging

removed from the housing so all charging, deployment, and download functions had to be accessible via bulkhead connectors.  A portable download junction providing power, solenoid control, and USB connections was also required.  The 316 stainless steel frame was constructed to allow experimental modification of the parallax, and attachment of the vessel-deployed mooring rig in addition to submersible lighting.  



AirliftCollapsible Airlift

A science dive team needed a quick, inexpensive collapsible airlift they could use for extracting large infauna burrowing to >30 cm in sandy sediments. The system needed to fit in a specific vessel space and have the speed and capacity to permit the sampling protocol within dive time limits.   


Alloy davitRemovable Davit and Winch

Sometimes you just can't weld.  Field teams are often required to use small vessels of opportunity when working away from base and not all operators are keen to have them weld brackets for the necessary and safe operation of equipment!  This project required the design and construction of a foot-pedal activated 12 VDC winch capable of lifting 40 kg loads and a swinging davit with enough clearance for their grab and appropriate stability characteristics for the 4.5 m vessel.  The davit was to be securely attached to the vessel, but able to be installed and removed using only four bolts in non-hull-penetrating locations.   Hull-hugging profiles with teflon contacts distribute the dynamic forces and ensure smooth operation and work boat relations.  We are pleased to report that it takes <10 minutes to install and has been used hundreds of times with no malfunctions.

circuit board diagramThought of something that no one has thought of before? That's our favourite kind of problem!