Seabed Surveying and Mapping
At the University of Queensland's Department of Zoology, they use a variety of different methods for seabed surveying and mapping. All of their surveys require GPS positions for each sample, so they can spatially analyse and present the data. The scientists needed some software to record positional data during sampling over a seafloor "track" (rather than a "point" sample). For instance: sampling by trawling, by "towed diver" visual surveys and by towed video surveys. The software they chose was Windmill.
The great benefit of Windmill is that it is possible to record the 'track' of each sample directly into Excel in real time. Once the sample is obtained (and its track recorded in Excel) they can enter observations and any other notes alongside the positional information for each sample, whilst still in the field. In all it saves a huge amount of time in writing and data entry, as well as preventing the problems of interpretation and mis-placing of data which sometimes occurred with the old practice of recording the information on sheets of paper.
The ability to integrate other instrumentation such as echo sounders, water quality meters etc. offers further possibilities to be explored in the future.
Their only problem now is keeping the PC dry whilst out in a small boat.
The Windmill software is available here.