The year in review: 2016

Tis the season for articles summarizing the past year’s work.  So let’s begin…OpenVDM was the big story.  The software underwent a huge update leading to the release of v2.2.  While the aesthetics for the most part remain the same, behind the scenes almost every single process received an overhaul.  This back-end work helped identify and resolve numerous bugs a hopefully set the stage for better troubleshooting and maintenance moving forward.

In January I went to Ocean Sciences 2016 in New Orleans.  Had a great time and got to present 2 posters describing OpenVDM.

In April I went to sea courtesy of the Schmidt Ocean Institute on a 21-day cruise from Fiji to the Kingdom of Tonga.  It was great to sea big blue again as well as all of my friends aboard the R/V Falkor.  My job on this cruise was as acting survey tech and to help with ROPOS operations. This was the first time in many years that I had participated in a traditional (i.e. non-telepresence-enabled) research cruise where the entire science party is actually on board the vessel vs. participating from shore.  It’s a very different dynamic, I had forgotten how much so.

In July and August I got to build my first ROV control room since the one I helped with on the Okeanos Explorer.  This control room was for a very different type of research vessel, the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration’s (GFOE) 38-foot R/V Annie.  The room was designed and built to support their newest vehicle, ROV Yogi.  I also got to delivery and install the new control room aboard R/V Annie located in the almost surreal setting of Lake Yellowstone in Wyoming.


In September I worked with GFOE again to install a first-rate exploration command center at Baruch College in the middle of Manhattan, NY.  This installation will be used by Baruch College to participated in telepresence-enabled cruises aboard the increasing number of telepresence-enabled oceanographic research platforms.

In November I attended the annual RVTEC meeting held at UCSD’s Scripps Institute for Oceanography (SIO).  This year was the first year where I got to actually present to the group on OpenVDM and it went very well.  It finally gave me chance to publicly thank everyone in the community that has helped with OpenVDM’s development over the years, which was long overdue.

Later in November and into December saw two big events.  For the few months prior I had been working with WHOI to evaluated whether OpenVDM could be adapted for use with the JASON ROVs.  The results of that work was the creation of new vehicle-edition variants of OpenVDM and OpenVDM – Port Office.  These new variants work almost identical to the original with the exception that data is organized by lowering rather than by cruise.

All of these efforts came to fruition during this December’s science verification cruise aboard the new R/V Sally Ride.  Not only was this the first time these new version were used at-sea to support JASON but I also got the opportunity to support the cruise from shore.

As luck would have it the R/V Falkor was also conducting a cruise with their new ROV SuBastian at the same time.  For about a week I was supporting 2 ROV cruises at the same time!

2016 was a great year.  I made a lot of progress on things that mattered to me, I got the opportunity to help a lot of my friends, and hopefully helped others learn more about the oceans underwater places of the planet.  I look forward to seeing what challenges and opportunities 2017 brings.


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About webbpinner

I'm Webb, the owner/operator of I started this blog to document some knowledge and tricks I've picked up along the way. My goal is to share what I know in hope that it is useful to others. I'm also the owner operator of Capable Solutions, a small company focused on helping oceanographers and vessel operators turn diesel fuel into quality data.

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