Experiments on Surface Reconstruction for Partially Submerged Marine Structures



Over the past 10 years, significant scientific effort has been dedicated to the problem of three-dimensional (3-D) surface reconstruction for structural systems. However, the critical area of marine structures remains insufficiently studied. The research presented here focuses on the problem of 3-D surface reconstruction in the marine environment. This paper summarizes our hardware, software, and experimental contributions on surface reconstruction over the past few years (2008–2011). We propose the use of off-the-shelf sensors and a robotic platform to scan marine structures both above and below the waterline, and we develop a method and software system that uses the Ball Pivoting Algorithm (BPA) and the Poisson reconstruction algorithm to reconstruct 3-D surface models of marine structures from the scanned data. We have tested our hardware and software systems extensively in Singapore waters, including operating in rough waters, where water currents are around 1–2 m/s. We present results on construction of various 3-D models of marine structures, including slowly moving structures such as floating platforms, moving boats, and stationary jetties. Furthermore, the proposed surface reconstruction algorithm makes no use of any navigation sensor such as GPS, a Doppler velocity log, or an inertial navigation system.