Fugro boosts ocean habitat mapping technology by teaming up with PlanBlue


Fugro and PlanBlue have joined forces to improve marine habitat mapping solutions.

Geo data specialists Fugro and marine surveyors PlanBlue are teaming up in a strategic partnership to advance habitat mapping technology, a significant move for both companies as they integrate new mapping technology and digital solutions within Fugro’s existing systems.

The aim is to enhance and broaden Fugro’s hydrographic solutions by incorporating cutting-edge technology such as advanced imaging and AI-based processing and deploying it across different platforms like remote and autonomous underwater vehicles.

The collaboration targets the improvement of habitat mapping solutions, systematically studying and documenting the characteristics and distribution of critical marine ecosystems such as seagrass and corals. Habitat mapping helps in understanding their ecological importance, assessing their condition, monitoring changes over time and informing conservation and management efforts.

Roughly 75% of the ocean floor remains unexplored. Even the parts that have been explored lack detailed information, especially regarding the ocean’s impact on climate and food security. The development of this new capability is aimed at improving the speed, accuracy and scope of underwater mapping, leading to better decisions for ocean conservation and use.

PlanBlue’s expertise in advanced imaging and AI-based data processing is set to gather crucial information about the ocean floor and its ecosystem. The partnership, leveraging Fugro’s industry knowledge, aims to develop solutions that meet industry needs while championing environmental conservation.

Dr Marco Filippone, Fugro’s solution director for ocean science and hydrography, said: “We are excited about the opportunities this partnership brings. By integrating PlanBlue’s advanced technology and analytics, we aim to lead the industry in providing innovative solutions that positively impact the environment and various sectors.”

“This partnership is a great opportunity to scale our business operations and data products and have a growing impact on coastal resilience,” said Dr Hannah Brocke, co-founder and chief strategy officer at PlanBlue. “Accelerating the collection of insights about marine habitats is essential for meaningful policy decisions in the blue economy. Through this partnership we strengthen our contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and global initiatives like the UN Decade of Ocean Science and Seabed 2030,” Brocke said.

Both companies said that the partnership between Fugro and PlanBlue signifies a shared commitment to driving positive change through technological innovation. The collaboration is especially vital considering initiatives like the recently awarded Italian government’s Marine Ecosystem Restoration Project, which aims to restore the marine habitats, fortify the national system for observing marine and coastal ecosystems and comprehensively map coastal and marine habitats across Italian waters, specifically seagrass meadows.

As the collaboration progresses, both companies say they are looking forward to exploring new frontiers, pushing boundaries and creating solutions that make a lasting difference for a safe and liveable world.