Oban firm expands expertise in marine 3-D modelling

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A young firm is applying advanced technology to expand its underwater survey and mapping expertise.

Tritonia Scientific Ltd is part of the growing cluster of marine-focused businesses at the European Marine Science Park at Dunstaffnage.

With the help of a £24,000 investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the company has expanded its core scientific and commercial diving business to include stereophotogrammetry.

This innovative new technology uses photographs and videos taken by underwater drones along with diver photography to generate highly detailed 3-D models of marine structures and natural features.

The models are then used as an easy and accurate way to measure structures, such as oil rigs, pipelines, bridges and piers that are situated in difficult- to- access locations.

Tritonia recently conducted underwater structural surveys at different locations on Scotland’s west coast, including piers on the islands of Gigha and Lismore in Argyll, and Uig on the Isle of Skye, using new stereophotogrammetrical techniques to give an accurate picture of entire pier structures, above and below the water.

The technique can also be used in fish and shellfish farming. Reefs below the water and the exact contours of the seabed can be easily mapped, even when visibility levels in the sea are low.

Fish cages and other floating structures can be examined for invasive species in biosecurity surveys, which is invaluable for the aquaculture industry and environmental monitoring projects.

Stereophotogrammetry is expected to help Tritonia to expand its international reach. Earlier this year employees spent a month in the Indian Ocean using the technology to monitor the health of impacted coral reefs.

Over the next three years the firm expects to create more than three well-paid skilled jobs as a result of the investment.

Gary Haldane account manager in HIE’s Argyll business growth team, said: ‘Oban is an internationally recognised centre for scientific research in marine and life-sciences. The European Marine Science Park, and the innovative activities of the companies based there, is at the heart of this.

‘Tritonia has only been a stand-alone business at the park for just over a year and already enjoys a growing reputation for excellence in underwater research and development. Supporting the company with this new initiative adds to the expertise available in Argyll. It brings more opportunities for skilled workers and reinforces the message that Oban is a great place to live, learn and work.’

Martin Sayer, scientific diving specialist and founder of Tritonia, said:

‘Stereophotogrammetry is a powerful survey and monitoring tool with diverse applications. This investment has enabled us to expand into this new area of expertise and explore new opportunities in different sectors, including the strategically important area of renewable energy.’