Drop Camera: in search of the lost whaling fleet

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Project Type: 

Students Involved:

Grace Cardarelli University of New Hampshire
Myles Riddell University of New Hampshire
Devon Snell University of New Hampshire
We chose a corrosion resistant, round-bar material for the frame that will also be heavy enough to reduce movement underwater when hovering over a target. From our experiments, we are able to successfully calculate the tow angle of the drop camera, which determines the angle of the navigational camera in front. All three cameras are GoPro because the brand is reliable and they provide the highest quality video for the lowest price. Two cameras point out to the side of the drop camera and down towards the ground. When being towed, the cameras will cover the ocean floor in front of them and out to the side with their impressive 170 degree angle of view. These cameras are for data collection only—a live feed is not necessary, but a power supply may be. Big Blue dive lights were also chosen for their reliability and quality. They have red lenses to reduce the light attenuation underwater. The two dive lights are mounted in the same direction as the side-facing GoPros to maximize quality of data collection. A pressure sensor is attached at the bottom of the frame to get an accurate reading of the depth of the drop camera. A Globalsat USB GPS is plugged in to the laptop to read the physical location of the drop camera. All of this data is consolidated into a customized LabView program that the researchers will operate aboard the vessel. The LabView program is specifically useful because the researchers can see what the drop camera sees underwater as well as the specific latitude and longitude of the suspected shipwreck. We accomplished all of the research and construction at $1500, which is well below our $5000 budget restrictions. Our preliminary designs set the stage for the next generation drop camera that will be used for the NOAA research in August of 2015.


Available from the National Sea Grant Library (use NHU number to search) or NH Sea Grant


  • Drop camera: in search of the lost whaling fleet (2015). Grace Cardarelli, Myles Riddell and Devon Snell.