Light weight video sleigh (Baktus) used for making recordings of the seabed, e.g. before and after trawling. Photo: Eva Maria Pedersen

Observation Technology

The research area Observation Technology develops and applies novel systems for the acquisition, storage, processing and interpretation of ocean data to support research, advice, teaching, innovation and for the benefit of the society.

Main themes within Observation Technology

Observation Technology is a cross-cutting and multi-disciplinary initiative which encompasses systems, operations and methods for scientific observations in ocean environments. Activities focus on the integration of traditional areas like survey and system design, oceanography, mechanics, electronics, optics, and acoustics, with signal and image analysis as well as big data analytics. 

The goal is to innovate on observational ocean technology developing and testing non-destructive ways to monitor aquatic organisms, quantify population abundances and distributions as well as to map and analyse the ocean environment.

Specific themes in this research areas are:

  • Autonomous and robotic technologies
    Autonomous and robotic technologies for coastal and open ocean mapping including advanced operations and control systems with remote operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater and surface vehicles (AUVs, ASVs), smart moorings and integrated sensors.

  • Technologies for acoustic monitoring
    Technologies for acoustic monitoring to support in-situ operations and focus on active acoustic methods, smart data processing, and improved mapping and monitoring of marine living resources as well as detection of marine litter.

  • Big data analytics
    Big data analytics with machine learning approaches embracing the development of new algorithms, statistical- and hybrid-modeling for ocean and satellite data processing to optimize data acquisition, delivering indicators and knowledge for ecosystem assessments of marine ecosystems.

Learn more about the research themes

Why do we conduct research into Observation Technology?

The future of ocean management requires better knowledge and data on the complex interactions occurring in the Earth System. Ocean research has until now suffered from the lack of quality data, hampering proper resource management and the achievement of sustainable development goals.

The aim of the research conducted in Observation Technology is to advance ocean research and exploration by providing state-of-the-art technologies to improve classical ocean monitoring of living marine resources and environmental data processing. This research can deliver innovation and progress towards a more sustainable global society.

What is the research used for?

The methods developed in Observation Technology are directly applicable in existing research and monitoring activities at DTU, to ensure the coupling between research, advisory tasks, innovation and education.

The methods and tools developed are tested both in the lab and in operations at sea using available infrastructures including the Autonomous System Test Arena (ASTA) and on board of DTU's research vessels, including Dana, Havfisken and Havørreden.

Observation technological capacity at DTU Aqua presently consists of a collection of ROV platforms (e.g., Seaeye Falcon, VideoRay, BlueROV, FLEXUS, Trident), portable sensor packages (Side Scan Sonars, multibeam, wideband acoustics, optical probes), advanced chemical, plankton and fish laboratories and a group of dedicated engineers and technical personnel, trained in planning and conducting sea going operations.

The observation technology group is also engaged in activities to prepare the new research vessel to substitute the present Dana to design it as a future platform for multidisciplinary research and at the same time provide the personal and financial framework for deep sea and Arctic research.



Research Leader
Senior Researcher
Patrizio Mariani
Ph. +45 35 88 33 53

Sustainable Development Goals

DTU Aqua's research into observation technology supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

SDG #14   UN Sustainable Development Goal #4

UN Sustainable Development Goal #9