NSF Awards TCarta Phase II SBIR Grant

  • TCarta is proud to announce the commencement of Phase II of Project Trident. The National Science Foundation awarded TCarta Marine’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant to commercialize recent advancements in satellite derived bathymetry technology. These innovations developed in Phase I integrated multiple methods of deriving water depths from space-based instruments, leveraging high-power computing techniques, vast data archives and ongoing satellite imagery collection programs.

    The Denver, Colorado based team successfully completed a proof of concept phase aimed at integrating three distinct methods for deriving water depths from satellite imagery:  Wave Kinematic, Stereophotogrammetric, and Multispectral Light Attenuation.  Our collaboration with jOmegak and Maxar on Phase I will continue in Phase II as these research pursuits are developed into full commercial products.  The 2 year, $750,000 grant will fund development of an automated software tool to produce shallow water bathymetry data from multiple commercially-operated and publicly available satellite platforms and sensors.  

    The team proved in Phase I that by combining these processes and using one method to inform or validate another the resulting data accuracy, production speed and data coverage are significantly improved. Machine learning algorithms both drastically cut operator efforts through pre-processing imagery assessment and automated cleaning of spurious data produced.  By applying these techniques to mass volumes of imagery archives and ongoing collection programs, Phase II will implement high speed computing and GPU processing to scale up these processes for commercial deployment.

    Satellite derived bathymetry provides a cost effective, accurate, and highly repeatable alternative to marine or aerial methods of mapping the seafloor for many use cases of bathymetry data where safety of navigation is not the primary concern.  For global marine environment initiatives such as Seabed 2030, satellite derived bathymetry offers a cost effective solution to survey broad shallow water areas to meet ambitious goals of mapping the entire seafloor in the next 11 years.

    Using scientific instruments in space to map the littoral environment is a challenging endeavor.  There is no one perfect method or sensor for this effort and given the variables at hand and limited range of information returning to passive multispectral instruments, it is a highly unconstrained environment. Integration of multiple methods which operate on different physical properties to derived water depths in an intelligent automated system allows, Project Trident software to overcome the traditional challenges of satellite derived bathymetry.

    The envisioned end state of this product is twofold:
    1. A deployable software tool for specific GEOINT end-users to access and process shallow water bathymetry on demand within secure systems.
    2. A web-enabled data store providing an ongoing and ever-improving data model for littoral awareness and analysis for use in modeling and GIS applications.

    There is much work ahead for the Trident team to develop and deploy the Trident processing system.  We are up to the challenge and look forward to connecting with stakeholders as we bring this technology to market over the next 24 months. For those interested in getting involved as a beta tester, exemplar user or to learn more contact TCarta at trident@tcarta.com.  We will also be updating the trident.tcarta.com website as our development progresses.

    The Denver based TCarta team will be growing to meet this goal and bringing on additional capacity in data management, computer vision, and systems integration.  For those interested in employment stayed tuned on our website and LinkedIn page.